SSA teams up with Greater Chicago Food Depository to research hungerBy William Harms
The School of Social Service Administration and the Greater Chicago Food Depository have established a five-year partnership to research hunger in the metropolitan Chicago area and build capacity in hunger relief organizations across Cook County.
Jeanne Marsh, Acting Dean and the George Herbert Jones Professor in SSA, said the collaboration continues the University’s history of incorporating and translating on-the-ground work into advancements in research, management and policy development.
“A hallmark of SSA’s unique educational experience is making sure our students receive excellent classroom education and also learn, from day one, how to apply that knowledge in the broader context of a city’s neighborhoods and human service organizations,” said Marsh.
“Having our students, faculty and staff work with the food depository will only enhance the education that our students receive and make them better prepared for future leadership within human service organizations worldwide,” she added.
The newly formed partnership focuses on four areas: education and capacity building of hunger relief organizations in Chicago, training the next generation of human service leaders, raising the awareness of hunger at its root causes, and research.
“We are excited about this partnership and the far-reaching benefits our collaboration will have on our quest to end hunger in Cook County,” said Michael Mulqueen, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “Through education, training and a greater understanding of poverty issues in our community, the food depository and tomorrow’s social service leaders will be better positioned to put an end to the daily disaster of hunger that currently faces our community.”
Over the next nine months, food depository staff members and SSA faculty and students will develop a plan for programming and development activities for the following four years of the agreement.
The partnership members will first explore debt forgiveness programs for graduates of SSA or the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies who choose to work at the Greater Chicago Food Depository or one of its member agencies; create field education opportunities at the food depository for SSA students; and develop joint continuing education programming between SSA’s Professional Development Program and the food depository’s award-winning training program, known as Pantry University.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a not-for-profit food distribution center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger throughout Chicago. The food depository distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 600 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to more than 91,000 adults and children every week.
Last year, the Greater Chicago Food Depository distributed more than 40 million pounds of non-perishable food and fresh produce, dairy products, meat, poultry and fish, the equivalent to more than 84,300 meals per day.