One of my dad’s first acts when he opened Eli’s Ogden Huddle back in 1940 on the west side of Chicago was to post a sign that read “if you have no money, we will feed you free.” That is commitment that we take very seriously to this day and we try to feed as many hungry people as we can through the Greater Chicago Food Depository and its member agencies.

This Saturday, we had the opportunity to continue his great legacy by teaming up with Jewel Food Stores, the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences at the Winter Walk during the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

While kids got to decorate a complimentary slice of Eli’s Cheesecake, there parents got to help the mission of the GCFD by either bringing a non-perishable food item or making a donation to the GCFD and receiving a cheesecake from Eli’s as a thank you gift.

The results were outstanding with over $1,000 raised in cash donations with over 800 lbs. of food donated. The cash and food will provide over 4,600 meals for the hungry in Chicago this holiday season.

All of us at Eli’s felt very good about the day, our great partners and the results, but were troubled to read the article below in USA Today. It seem that nationally food drives are down as Katrina relief efforts have reduced holiday giving. Although we believe that Chicago is not following the national trend, we don’t want to take any chances so Eli’s will donate more cheesecake and desserts to the GCFD so over 10,000 people will have a happier holiday.

Thank you Jewel Food Stores for your strong support of Eli’s and the Greater Chicago Food Depository and thank you Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences for your commitment to knowledge, innovation and improving our food supply.




Katrina shelves gifts to food banks

By Wendy Koch,

As Hurricane Katrina donations reach near-record levels, some food banks in the USA are seeing bare shelves as they prepare for Thanksgiving and


Cunningham works at the Idaho Food Bank, where demand is up for Thanksgiving,
but donations are expected to be less.
Troy Maben, AP

Food donations are down 12% in Los Angeles, 30% in New York City and more than 50% in Milwaukee and Denver, according to America’s Second Harvest network, which accounts for 80% of the nation’s food banks for the needy.

“People just aren’t able to do it,” says Shannon Cardellina, spokeswoman for the Food Bank of the Rockies. “Our community is feeling tapped out.” She says the food bank received 50,000 pounds of donated food in October 2004 but only 17,000 pounds last month.

“It’s pretty much a direct result of Katrina,” says Lisa Jakobsberg, spokeswoman for the Food Bank for New York City, which diverted some of its food and staff to the Gulf to help hurricane victims.

“We have a lot of empty shelves now. I’ve not seen that before,” says Jakobsberg, who has worked at the food bank for five years.

“People saw a need (with Katrina) and responded,” says Karen Ford, executive director of the Food Bank of Iowa. “It’s difficult to respond in the same manner when the need is not as visible.”

Three out of four agencies that help the poor say it will be harder to do so this holiday season because the need is greater, according to a survey of 70 agencies to be released today by Catholic Charities.

The Department of Agriculture says 11.9% of households lack year-round access to sufficient food.

The San Francisco Food Bank has 870,000 fewer pounds of food now than it did a year ago. Its warehouse typically holds 3 million to 5 million pounds. But spokeswoman Marguerite Nowak is optimistic because, she says, the Bay Area has been generous and Katrina helped focus Americans on the needs of the hungry. “There may be a silver lining,” she says.

Private donations for hurricane relief have totaled nearly $2.7 billion since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, according to Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy. The total given to 9/11 charities was $2.8 billion