The Food Depository and its benefits outreach network submitted a record 5,878 applications for benefits

In fiscal year 2017, the Food Depository launched a new effort to connect families with federal benefits through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools.

“We’re meeting clients at a place they regularly go – their child’s school,” said Claudia Rodriguez, Food Depository manager of public benefits outreach. “If families need the benefits, we want to make sure we’re there to help them.”

The partnership fills a significant gap that was created when CPS discontinued their benefits outreach program in 2015.

Starting in January 2017, Food Depository benefits outreach staff worked at eight CPS schools, five days a week, to help families enroll in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid benefits. Staff provide walk-in and by-appointment assistance with the federal applications eight hours each day. They also work with families that need to renew their federal benefits.

“SNAP is crucial to many of these families, but Medicaid is equally important. Kids need to have the right nutrition and healthcare if they’re going to do well in school and grow up healthy,” Rodriguez said.

“Kids need to have the right nutrition and healthcare if they’re going to do well in school and grow up healthy.”

Claudia Rodriguez, Manager of Public Benefits Outreach, GCFD

From January – June 2017, the team assisted 543 households with submitting applications. More than 1,100 children lived in those households.

Overall in fiscal year 2017, the Food Depository and its benefits outreach network submitted a record 5,878 applications on behalf of clients.