briana b
xavier hernandez

Xavier H., 27, and Briana B., 22
Greater Chicago Food Depository

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many Cook County residents struggling to keep healthy food on the table – and no one knows this better than the staff and volunteers at Greater Chicago Food Depository. The Food Depository is part of a united community effort working to bring food, dignity and hope to our neighbors across the county. They partner with a network of more than 700 local pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community programs, providing nutritious food where it’s needed the most.

Xavier, a delivery driver who started his work at the Food Depository in 2012, has seen firsthand the impact on the partners he serves each day. “Work has gotten a lot busier here. You can see lines [at the pantries] a block long, maybe even longer.” After losing two family members to COVID, Xavier didn’t hesitate to take his shot or convince his loved ones to do the same. Despite having contracted and recovered from COVID, he knows that the vaccine offers him the immunity he needs to safely hug his nieces and nephews again, and keep delivering fresh produce to his neighbors early each morning.

For Briana, Operations Workforce Trainee, the Food Depository was not only a place to jumpstart her career, but also to give back to her elderly neighbors who she saw struggle with the isolation and impacts of the pandemic. Even though she’s young and healthy, she felt thrilled and “liberated” to receive her vaccine, and encourages her friends and classmates to do the same. “I would tell people my age who are hesitant to do as much research as possible. Believe in health officials, believe in scientists, believe in doctors.” Being vaccinated has given Briana the opportunity to complete her training at the Food Depository, establish goals for her future, and envision a brighter tomorrow.

Think about the people that you could potentially save.