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 2021 Dates Time
3250 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60004
January 21, March 18, May 20, July 15, September 16 & November 18
9:30 am to 11 am
4800 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60651
February 4, April 1, June 3, August 5, October 7 & December 2
10:30 am to 12 pm
12757 S. Western Ave., Blue Island, IL 60406
January 28, March 25, May 27, July 22 & September 23, November 30
9 am to 10:30 am
1645 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Ford Heights, IL 60411
February 9, April 13, June 8, August 10, October 12 & December 14
10:30 am to 12 pm
2424 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60623
January 7, March 4, May 6, July 1, September 2 & November 4
9 am to 10:30 am
1135 W. 69th St., Chicago, IL 60621
February 18, April 15, June 17, August 19, October 21 & December 16
9 am to 10:30 am
500 E. 51st St., Chicago, IL 60615
January 12, March 9, May 11, July 13, September 14 & November 9
9 am to 10:30 am
2840 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
January 26, March 23, May 25, July 27, September 28 & November 23
9 am to 10:30 am
1800 S. Harlem Ave., North Riverside, IL 60546
February 2, April 6, June 1, August 3, October 5 & December 7
9 am to 10:30 am
13450 S. Kedzie Ave., Robbins, IL 60472
February 16, April 20, June 15, August 17, October 19 & December 21
10:30 am to 12 pm
2020 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612
January 15, March 19, May 21, July 16, September 17 & November 19
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.

Summer Meals

Children 18 years and younger can get free, healthy meals at Cook County Health’s Robbins and Cottage Grove Health Centers. You do not need to be a current patient of Cook County Health to access Summer Meals. Other Summer Meals sites can be located by calling 1-800-359-2163, texting FOODIL to 877-877, or by visiting Summer Meals Illinois.

All meals will be “grab and go,” so children and their caregivers can take the meals with them and consume them off-site.

Location Address 2021 Dates Hours of Operation
1645 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Ford Heights, IL 60411
June 24 through August 27
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 12 pm - 1 pm
No meals July 2, July 5 and August 6.
13450 S. Kedzie Ave., Robbins, IL 60472
June 28 through August 27
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11:30 am to noon.
No meals July 5.

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 

Community Classes & Support Groups

Providing support to those in need   
Cook County Health is committed to improving the health of our patients and our communities. We offer community classes and support groups to ensure our patients stay on course with their treatment and have access to the latest findings and research regarding their personal health care needs.  

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.