Food Accessibility

CW: Poverty

A program that distributes food to disabled people in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood has been extended for another six months. The Greater Chicago Food Depository provided financing for the municipal pilot initiative, which began in February, intending to improve food access for 100 people experiencing food insecurity.

This type of service is essential to the community. According to 2015 U.S. census data, families in the Chicago area with an adult member with a disability are approximately three times more likely to be food insecure than households with no adult members with disabilities.

Additionally, according to a study done by Boston University, older adults who have three or more functional limitations are nearly twice as likely as those who don’t to report both income-driven food insecurity (10.4 vs. 4.6%) and logistics-driven food insecurity (21.2 vs. 11.2%). Additionally, using data from the 2011-2014 National Health Interview Survey, research showed that young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities have much greater levels of food insecurity than young adults without disabilities, even when poverty is accounted for.

Mobility, wait times, and transportation were identified as the top three barriers to accessing local food pantries by program participants in a survey conducted in May 2023. Each month, participants receive two food deliveries. The initial delivery contains 40 to 50 pounds of food, including protein, dairy, shelf essentials, and some fruit. The second delivery consists of 15 to 20 pounds of produce from Forty Acres Fresh Market and Dion’s Chicago Dream, two local food vendors. The program has distributed 27,000 pounds of food from four area food pantries over the last six months.

Nobody should have to go hungry. Disabled people around the globe should have access to nutritious food. Programs like this one are essential for many disabled people.


Brucker, Debra L, and Derek Nord. “Food Insecurity Among Young Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the United States: Evidence From the National Health Interview Survey.” American journal on intellectual and developmental disabilities vol. 121,6 (2016): 520-532. doi:10.1352/1944-7558-121.6.520

Choi, Shinae L., et al. ‘Physical Disability and Older Adults’ Perceived Food and Economic Insecurity During the COVID-19 Pandemic’. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, vol. 77, no. 7, July 2022, pp. e123–e133, https://doi.org10.1093/geronb/gbab162

Hernandez, Francia Garcia. “Food Delivery Service for People with Disabilities Extended.” Austin Weekly News, Growing Community Media, 12 Sept. 2023,

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