Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a food pantry inside of a hospital? 
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 family members during a child's hospitalization.

What is provided? 
The food pantry offers non-perishable, shelf-stable food to caregivers and families of patients on the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th inpatient floors and in the emergency department of Comer Children's Hospital. All pantries have a can opener and microwave nearby, and staff on each floor work to ensure that family members have access to plates and silverware.

Who can access Feed1st? 
The food pantries are available to all caregivers and family members of patients staying at Comer Children's Hospital.

How does my family use Feed1st?
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. 

Where does the food come from? 
The majority of the food in the pantries comes from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We also accept food donations. Please contact Kelsey at info@feed1st.org to learn more.

The pantries are stocked on a weekly basis by medical student volunteers from the Pritzker Medical School and members of the Lindau Lab at the University of Chicago.

What if I have special dietary needs? 
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.