May 24, 2015

Parents go door-to-door to raise awareness for summer programs

One of the main roadblocks to feeding hungry children during the summer is awareness, as families in need often don’t know about the programs available to them. To address this issue, the Food Depository partners with Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), a group centered on family-focused community organizing.

Using the COFI model, parents canvas high-need neighborhoods, going door-to-door handing out Food Depository informational materials about summer feeding sites in Cook County.

“The idea is, who better to reach out to the communities we work in than people who actually live there?” said Giselle Doyle, COFI’s Director of Contracts and Administration.

Last summer, COFI provided outreach in the Austin, Little Village, and West Englewood neighborhoods to raise awareness for summer meals. Austin’s summer program participation rate increased 43 percent, Little Village’s increased 103 percent, and West Englewood’s rate jumped 43 percent.

“During the summer, many of the kids in those neighborhoods might not have access to the meals they’d be getting at school,” Giselle said. “For some families, it’s very difficult to get access to healthy food. That’s why we do this outreach.”

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