HACC Collaborates with Top Box Foods to assist Low-income Communities Experiencing Food Insecurity
(Cook County, IL) – Today, Executive Director Richard Monocchio and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined dozens of volunteers to embark on a new initiative aimed at addressing food insecurity among HACC’s low-income households. Thanks to a partnership with Top Box Foods, HACC is delivering fresh groceries and PPE to over 700 Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) residents living in three south suburban family sites.
· Sunrise Community Housing, 1314 Wentworth, Chicago Heights, IL
· Vera Yates Homes, 1055 Berkeley, Ford Heights, IL
· Richard Flowers Homes, 13900 S. Grace Ave, Robbins, IL
“HACC is taking bold steps to ensure the health and safety of residents during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said President Toni Preckwinkle. “Their efforts should serve as an example to other housing providers throughout the County, and around the country. During these times, it’s more important than ever to break down the silos that have traditionally governed the public sector, and look toward innovative solutions. I applaud HACC and Top Box Foods for their work and collaborative effort.”
The boxes will include healthy and nutritious food including whole wheat bread, poultry, and fresh fruit and veggies. Face masks and hand sanitizer will also be included in the deliveries so that residents can protect themselves and others when leaving the house is a necessity. Two deliveries are currently scheduled for May.
“While our central mission at HACC is to make sure all of our residents remain stably housed throughout the crisis, we’re always asking ourselves how we can do more to help,” said Executive Director Richard Monocchio. “After surveying our communities, it became immediately apparent that our residents were concerned about their access to healthy food and the steps they needed to take to get grocery store in a safe way. We decided to do something about it.”
Founded in May of 2012 as a nonprofit social business, Top Box Foods works to create access to healthy and affordable foods in low-income communities throughout Chicagoland and beyond. Their unique, volunteer-based model of getting healthy and affordable grocery boxes to food-insecure neighborhoods is a year-round resource for anyone who wants to bring healthy food home, and help their neighbors do the same.
“Chicago’s food deserts prevent access to fresh food for thousands of people year-round,” said Top Box founder Sheila Kennedy. “This pandemic is hitting those already vulnerable Chicagoans even harder, and our mission is to make fresh produce and high quality frozen meat safely accessible to underserved communities across Cook County.”
Low-income communities of color like those that HACC serves have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are not able to take the precautionary measures that higher-income households are afforded. The option to have groceries delivered is a stark example – SNAP beneficiaries in Illinois cannot take part in grocery delivery services under the current program while states like New York, Washington and Oregon have begun to roll out pilot programs to address the issue.
“As the second largest provider of affordable housing for low-income communities in Illinois, HACC has a unique responsibility to make certain that our communities feel safe and secure in their homes,” said Monocchio. “HACC is proud to fill the gaps being identified by our residents, and we are committed to continuing to allow our residents to guide our efforts as the global pandemic evolves.”
Photos and b roll footage of the day can be found at this link: http://bit.ly/HACCPhotos