The Feed1st Program started in 2010 as a food pantry in the Comer Children's Hospital. It was founded by a group of Pritzker medical students, Comer Children's Hospital staff, and University of Chicago faculty. We partner with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to supply food to patients and their families at the University of Chicago Medicine.
The Feed1st food pantries offer non-perishable, shelf-stable food to patients, caregivers and families in multiple sites across the medical center, including Comer Children's Hospital, the DCAM Oncology Infusion Clinic, the Adult Emergency Department, and the Center for Care and Discovery Sky Cafe. Feed1st minimizes stigma and maximizes dignity of people experiencing hunger and food insecurity using an open access 24/7/365, self-serve, no questions asked, everyone included approach. The Feed1st food pantries are available for the entire UCM community to take what they need for themselves or others they know. There are no requirements to receive food, nor are there limits on how much food families may take, making the food pantry welcoming and accessible to anyone in need.
Feed1st pantry locations: Please follow social distancing and mask regulations, and touch only what you will take
- CCD Sky Café – Open to all staff, patients, families
- Adult ED – Open to all staff, patients, families
- Comer Children’s 1st floor (elevator vestibule down the hall from the café) – Open to all staff, patients, families
- Comer Children’s ED – Open to Comer staff, patients and families
- Comer Children’s 2nd floor – Open to Comer staff, patients and families
- Comer Children’s family lounges on floors 4, 5, and 6 – Open to Comer staff, patients and families
- DCAM 6 Oncology Infusion Therapy Suite – Open to all staff, patients, families; please limit use to those who are already in the infusion therapy suite to protect the health of oncology patients
- DCAM 3F – Open to all staff, patients, families
- Billings W053 (basement, down the hall from Medical Records) – Staff only
Donate to Feed1st:
Every day, distressed families of patients at Comer Children's Hospital benefit from Feed1st. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is 100% free and anonymous. Every donation and every dollar helps pay for the food, staff, and supplies necessary to keep Feed1st operating.
$10 buys 30 meals
$50 buys 150 meals
$100 buys 300 meals
If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please click here. Please note that the "To" and "Special Instructions" fields are already populated with Feed1st-specific information. Please do not change.
Feed1st is not currently able to accept food drive donations. If you would like to host a food drive or donate food, we are happy to connect you with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for partnering with us!
Feed 1st in the News:
- WVON 1690AM Community Health Focus Hour: “Food Insecurity A Reality In Illinois" (January 30, 2021) Meryl Davis, Dr. Ann Jackson, and Emily Daniels joined host Carl West for a panel discussion about food insecurity and what Feed1st, the Center for Food Equity in Medicine, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository are doing to alleviate hunger in Chicago.
- South Side Weekly: Hospital Food Pantries Serve Staff, Patients, Caregivers, and Family (January 20, 2021)
- UChicago Citizen Newsletter (May 20, 2020)
- Hyde Park Herald (July 8, 2020)
- Makelarski JM, Abramsohn E, Benjamin JH, Du S, Lindau ST. Diagnositic Accuracy of Two Food Insecurity Screeners Recommended for Use in Health Care Settings. American Journal of Public Health. 2017;107(11):1812-1817.
- Makelarski JM, Thorngren D, Lindau ST. Feed first, ask questions later: Alleviating and understanding caregiver food insecurity in an urban children's hospital. American Journal of Public Health. 2015;(8):e98-e104.
- Lindau ST, Makelarski JA, Chin MH, et al. Building community-engaged health research and discovery infrastructure on the South Side of Chicago: science in services to community priorities. Preventive Medicine. 2011;52(3-4):200-207.
- Coleman-Jensen A, Rabbitt M, Gregory C, Singh A. Household food insecurity in the United States in 2014. US Department of Agriculture: Economic Research Service. September 2015; Economic Research Report No. (ERR-194) 43.
- DeMartini TL, Beck AF, Kahn RS, Klein MD. Food insecure families: description of access and barriers to food from one pediatric primary care center. Journal of Community Health. 2013;38(6):1182-7.
- Miner JR, Westgard B, Olives T, Patel R, Biros M. Hunger and food insecurity among patients in an urban emergency department. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2013;14(3):253-62.
Although the hospital attracts patients from throughout the Midwest, its primary patient population is from the South Side of Chicago. Our communities experience some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the city - in some neighborhoods, more than half of the residents don't know where their next meal will come from.
Food insecurity has been linked to negative health outcomes in both children and adults. We started the food pantry in response to anecdotal evidence from hospital staff suggesting that parents were going hungry at their child's bedside. The food pantry aims to address the issue of food insecurity experienced by patients and their families at University of Chicago Medicine.
The food pantry offers non-perishable, shelf-stable food to caregivers and families of patients on four inpatient floors and the emergency department of Comer Children's Hospital as well as in the Supportive Oncology Infusion Therapy Suite in the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. All pantries have a can opener and microwave nearby, and staff on each floor who work to ensure that family members have access to plates and silverware.
The food pantries are available to all caregivers, family members and patients receiving care on Feed1st pantry floors of University of Chicago Medicine.
It is absolutely free to use the food pantries. The only request is that family members 'sign in,' by writing down the number of people eating food and their zip code. No identifying information is required and no limit is placed on the amount of food that may be taken.
We also provide take-home bags that families can use to take food home from the pantries.
The majority of the food in the pantries comes from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We also accept monetary donations to help purchase food. Please contact Kelsey at email@example.com to learn more.
The pantries are stocked on a weekly basis by medical student volunteers from the Pritzker Medical School, University of Chicago volunteers and members of the Lindau Lab at the University of Chicago.
We regret that our ability to supply food is limited by what the Greater Chicago Food Depository has to offer at the time we make our monthly food purchase, and that requests for specific foods typically cannot be immediately met. However, if you have requests, please let us know by filling out a comment card (found in each pantry), and we will do our best to facilitate your request when we place our next order.