Economic Relief Resources

Food & Nutrition

SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program)

SNAP/LINK Card provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency. In Illinois, SNAP/LINK Card Program is overseen by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). Your local DHS office will review your SNAP/Link Card application and can help answer any questions you have during the application process. You can find your DHS office through the DHS Office Locator online here You must be over 18 and not be a full-time student to be eligible for SNAP benefits.    

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children - better known as the WIC program - serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating including breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care. You can use the pre-screening tool found here to determine your eligibility.

The Child and Adult Car Food Program(CACFP)

This is a federal nutrition education and meal reimbursement program.  CACFP partially reimburses participating agencies providing healthy meals and snacks at Adult Day Service Centers under the Community Care Program.

For more information about the CACFP program at the Department visit the website here or contact:

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

One Natural Resources Way, #100

Springfield, IL 62702-1271

Phone: (217) 782-2407 or 1-800-252-8966

Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program

These services include both home-delivered meals and healthy meals served in group settings, such as senior centers and faith-based locations.  In addition, the programs provide a range of services including nutrition screening, assessment, education, and counseling. Nutrition services also provide an important link to other supportive in-home and community-based supports such as homemaker and home-health aide services, transportation, physical activity and chronic disease self-management programs, home repair and modification, and falls prevention programs. More information on this program can be found here Your local nutrition site can be found using the website You can also call 1-800-677-1116

The Greater Chicago Food Repository

Cook County’s local foodbank that strives to end hunger all over the city. The Greater Chicago Food Repository works with over 700 partner agencies and programs. You can find your local food distribution site using the website. If you would like to get involved in the struggle against hunger in Chicago you can act here. You can also contact The Greater Chicago Food Repository via their office or phone number.

 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place

Chicago, IL 60632

Phone: 773-247-3663 

The Greater Chicago Food Repository Job Training Opportunities

Employment helps people overcome poverty and hunger. The Food Depository now offers FREE and PAID hospitality and supply chain career path training programs. Our free training programs are available to unemployed and underemployed adults living in Cook County. Our programs are background friendly and welcoming to those without a high school diploma or GED. These programs include Hospitality Career Path Programs focusing on Customer Service Excellence or Food Handler  as well as the Supply Chain Career Path Program focusing on the Warehouse Bridge or a Certified Logistics Associate . You can request more information and/or enroll here.

The Greater Chicago Food Repository Food and Medical Benefits Assistance

If you need assistance navigating programs such as SNAP or Medicaid, The Greater Chicago Food Repository can assist you. For assistance applying for these programs please visit the Chicago Foodbank’s website or call 773-843-5416 Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30AM-5PM.

The Greater Chicago Food Repository, Veterans Programs

More than 13,000 veterans in Cook County live below the poverty line. The Food Depository responds to veterans struggling with hunger and poverty by providing nutritious food and connections to additional resources. The Food Repository operates a food pantry at the Jesse Brown VA Food Pantry located at 820 S. Damen Ave, Chicago, IL (temporarily closed). There is a second food pantry located at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital 5000 S. 5th Ave, Hines, IL that is open Thursday from 10am to 12pm. The Chicago Food Repository also participates in Veteran Stand Down Events. At these events veterans experiencing homelessness receive food, overnight shelter, medical care, clothing, and other assistance. At these events, the Food Depository serves hot meals prepared by Chicago’s Community Kitchen. Additionally, we provide bags of nonperishable food and fresh produce to veterans at the events.

The Greater Chicago Food Repository Nutrition Education

The Chicago Food Repository offers educational resources in order to promote and plan healthy meals on a budget. Resources include healthy recipes from Chicago's Community Kitchen, resources collected via Hunger and Health, and for families who receive Illinois SNAP benefits, resources can be accessed via Illinois Nutrition Education Program

Physical And Mental Healthcare

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for the following: Participants aged 65 or older, participants under the age of 65 with certain disabilities, Participants of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), Participants with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). More information about Medicare in Illinois can be found here. In order to apply for Medicare benefits, plan participants are instructed to contact their local SSA office or call 1-800-772-1213. Plan participants may also sign up for Medicare Part A via the SSA website at www.socialsecurity.gov. To ensure that benefits are coordinated appropriately and to prevent financial liabilities with healthcare claims, plan participants must notify the State of Illinois CMS Medicare COB Unit when they become eligible for Medicare. The Medicare COB Unit can be reached by calling 1-800-442-1300 or (217) 782-7007.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a jointly funded state and Federal government program that pays for medical assistance services. Medicaid pays for medical assistance for eligible children, parents and caretakers of children, pregnant women, persons who are disabled, blind or 65 years of age or older, those who were formerly in foster care services, and adults aged 19-64 who are not receiving Medicare coverage and who are not the parent or caretaker relative of a minor child. You can discover if you are eligible for here.

Chicago Department Of Public Health Mental Services

Chicago Department of Public Health Mental Health Services

To help meet the mental health needs of our insured city residents, CDPH partners with community mental health providers and makes direct investments in community partners who provide mental health services to city residents. For those with insurance, the benefits of accessing mental health services through these community mental health partners may include integrated mental health and medical treatment; expanded service options, including additional service locations and hours; improved prescription drug coverage; and reduced expense related to co-pays.

For those city residents without insurance, the Department provides clinical mental health services in 5 CDPH-operated clinics throughout the City of Chicago. A variety of services are available at CDPH mental health clinics, a full list of services can be found on the website. To find a mental health care provider near you please visit the link here.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI provides advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI’s five core tenants are Hope, Inclusion, Empowerment, Compassion, and Fairness. NAMI runs educational programs, a toll free NAMI help line. NAMI is also on the front lines of raising awareness hosting activities including Mental Health Awareness Week and NAMI Walks. You can find your local NAMI office in Illinois by using the website. You can also visit the NAMI Illinois website directly for more information. You can also call the NAMI National Help Line at 800-950-6264 Monday through Friday 10am-10pm EST. Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741 for 24/7, confidential, free crisis counseling. The Illinois NAMI office can be contacted via

1603 Orrington Avenue, Suite 600

Evanston, IL 60201

Office: 217-522-1403

nami@namiillinois.org