Feed the Gap

Recipes to fill the Nutrition Gap

In 2018, more than 100,000 visits to Cook County Health were related to diabetes and heart disease. The first step to managing these diseases is a healthy diet. But for some people, when it comes to knowing how or what to eat, there’s a gap.

To help close that gap, Cook County Health, together with some of Chicago’s top chefs and the team at our Lifestyle Centers, have created a cookbook filled with simple, healthy recipes made from accessible ingredients. Because we believe that every person, no matter who they are, where they come from, or how much experience they have in the kitchen, deserves to be healthy.

In addition to this cookbook, Cook County Health Lifestyle Centers are also helping close the Nutrition Gap by offering nutrition education, meal planning and exercise classes to community members, as well as several programs that help insure food-insecure Cook County residents have consistent access to healthy food.  

Food Programs

Food insecurity is a significant problem in Cook County. 
An estimated one in seven residents are not sure where or when their next meal will be coming from. 
To help ensure our patients and children have access to a nutritious diet, we’ve launched several programs so food-insecure Cook County residents have consistent access to healthy food. 
Fresh Truck 

In partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Cook County Health hosts Fresh Truck, a mobile resource delivering fresh produce to Cook County Health patients.  

The Fresh Truck visits the following Cook County Health centers on a regular basis: 

Location Address 2023 Dates Time
3250 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60004
January 19, March 16, May 18, July 20, September 21, November 16
9:30 am to 11 am
4800 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60651
February 2, April 6, June 1, August 3, October 5, December 7
10:30 am to 12 pm
12757 S. Western Ave., Blue Island, IL 60406
January 26, March 23, May 25, July 27, September 28
9 am to 10:30 am
1645 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Ford Heights, IL 60411
February 14, April 11, June 13, August 8, October 10, December 12
10:30 am to 12 pm
2424 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60623
January 5, March 2, May 4, July 6, September 7, November 2
9 am to 10:30 am
1135 W. 69th St., Chicago, IL 60621
February 16, April 20, June 15, August 17, October 19, December 21
9 am to 10:30 am
500 E. 51st St., Chicago, IL 60615
January 10, March 14, May 9, July 11, September 12, November 14
9 am to 10:30 am
1800 S. Harlem Ave., North Riverside, IL 60546
February 7, April 4, June 6, August 1, October 3, December 5
9 am to 10:30 am
13450 S. Kedzie Ave., Robbins, IL 60472
February 21, April 18, June 20, August 15, October 17, December 19
10:30 am to 12 pm
2020 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612
January 20, March 17, May 19, July 21, September 15, November 17
9 am to 10:30 am

Cook County Health patients with a voucher from their provider receive priority access to the Fresh Truck. Patients without a voucher, non-Cook County Health patients and community members may be able to obtain produce if fruits and vegetable remain at the end of the distribution.  

If you would like to learn more about the Fresh Truck, please talk to your health care provider about how to get connected.

Blood Bank

On March 15, 1937, Dr. Bernard Fantus founded the nation’s first blood bank at Cook County Hospital.
The establishment of the blood bank has made modern surgery and resuscitation in critical care, trauma and obstetrics possible due to the ability to store and transfuse blood. Each year, nearly 21 million blood components are transfused and there are more 15.7 million blood donations at blood banks around the country. 
The Cook County Health Blood Bank is now located at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital and supports more than 15,000 transfusions a year, including over 100 large volume transfusions for patients with traumatic injuries or hemorrhagic shock. 
One blood donation saves three lives. If you’re interested in donating, please call us at (312) 864-6000. 
You are eligible to donate blood if you: 
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds 
  • Are in good physical health 
  • Are at least 17 years old 
  • Have not given blood in the past eight weeks (56 days) 
You are not eligible to donate blood if you: 
  • Have had hepatitis (not including childhood exposure) 
  • Are currently pregnant 
  • Have ever tested positive for HIV, have engaged in high risk behavior or have had intimate contact with anyone at risk for AIDS 

MEND Program

Does your child have a medical condition that:
  • Is hard to manage?
  • Makes family life a challenge?
  • Is stressful for you and your child?
  • Is causing other problems such as missing school?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re not alone. The MEND program can help.

Download our brochure here to learn more or call Maria Macias at (312) 864-1247 to schedule your individual meeting,.

WIC – New!

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a food supplemental and nutrition education program for pregnant women, new mothers and young children to promote healthy eating and diets.
WIC is offered at all Cook County Health outpatient locations, including the Arlington Heights Health Center.

Please click here to learn more about our WIC program.