Food insecurity is a significant problem in Cook County.

It’s estimated that one in seven Cook County residents experience food insecurity each year, meaning they’re not quite sure where or when their next meal will be coming from.

Access to food is critically important to our patients. Food gives them the energy to heal and the nutrients they need to stay well. A nutritious diet is also key to ensuring that children grow up healthy and strong and mitigating chronic diseases in adults.

That’s why the Cook County Health (CCH) has launched several initiatives to make sure food-insecure Cook County residents have consistent access to healthy food.

Those include:

Fresh Food Markets

CCH’s Fresh Food Markets will reopen outdoors at three locations the first week of June 2018.

As part of our mission to improve the health of our patients, staff, and community, CCH will continue to partner with Black Oaks Center and Healthy Food Hub to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a host of whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, herbs, spices, teas and more.

CCH is also partnering with Experimental Station’s Link Up Illinois Link Match Program to provide SNAP users with a LINK match on all purchases at Fresh Food Markets. Fresh Food Markets accept various forms of payment, including senior farmer’s market coupons, WIC farmer’s market coupons , and debit/credit cards.

Starting the week of June 4, Fresh Food Markets will be reopening outdoors at Cottage Grove Health Center, Oak Forest Health Center and Robbins Health Center.

For those who can’t wait until June, though, the Oak Forest Health Center Fresh Food Market is open year-round, taking place indoors in the Oak Forest Health Center auditorium near Building E.

The right types of foods can be prescriptive, preventive, and protective. CCH Fresh Food Markets help patients manage their diabetes and other health conditions, provide staff with healthy snack/meal options, and give the community more locations to purchase healthy, affordable food in South Suburban Cook County.

Visit any or all of the three CCH Fresh Food Markets around noon for “Therapeutic Foods Sessions” hosted by Dr. Jifunza Wright-Carter, co-founder of Black Oaks Center and a former CCH Resident and Family Physician who has woven whole foods into patient care for more than 30 years.  Learn about the therapeutic nutrients in market selections and how to prepare foods to get the greatest health benefits to address common health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  Dr. Wright is available to support you in making your transition to healthier eating.

The Fresh Food Markets feature ‘Grown in the USA,’ fair trade selections whenever possible, as well as organic produce, and never Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Locally grown selections will be available this spring with the reopening of the outdoor markets.

Can’t always make it to the markets but you still need to secure your key essentials to be well? Rx Bags, which are bags of healthy produce that can be pre-ordered, are available with a subscription to a service called MY TAB.  For as little as $20 per month put on your MY TAB, we will prepare your order for pick up or to be delivered.  Inquire at the markets for more information.


Double your value dollar for dollar up to $20 with your active LINK card

Outdoor Fresh Markets reopen the week of June 4 and will continue 10am-2pm weekly at all three locations. See below for additional details:

  • CCH Cottage Grove Health Center, 1645 Cottage Grove Avenue in Ford Heights – EVERY Monday, starting June 4
  • CCH Oak Forest Health Center, 15900 S. Cicero Avenue in Oak Forest (entrance on 159th Street) – EVERY Wednesday, starting June 6
  • CCH Robbins Health Center, 13450 S. Kedzie Avenue in Robbins – EVERY Friday, starting June 8
A marketgoer named Umeka Scott talks about the positive impact Fresh Food Markets and Rx Bags has had on her health.
This marketgoer says Fresh Food Markets and Rx Bags have had a positive impact on her health and her families’ health, now that they eat more fruits and vegetables.  “We all feel better because of it,” she said.  “We’re thankful now that the market is close to our house.”


Fresh Trucks

In partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, CCH hosts the Fresh Truck, a mobile resource that provides CCH patients with fresh produce. CCH patients should talk with their health care provider about how to get connected to the Fresh Truck and other resources to help access healthy and nutritious foods.

The Fresh Truck visits the following CCH health centers on a regular basis:

Location Address Dates (through 2018) Time
Cottage Grove Health Center 1645 Cottage Grove Ave. Ford Heights, IL February 13, April 10, June 12, August 14, October 9 and December 11, 2018 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Logan Square Health Center 2840 W. Fullerton Ave. Chicago, IL January 23, March 27, May 22, July 24, September 25 and November 27, 2018 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Oak Forest Health Center 15900 S. Cicero Ave. Oak Forest, IL January 25, March 22, May 24, July 26 and September 27, 2018 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Robbins Health Center 13450 W. Kedzie Ave. Robbins, IL February 20, April 17, June 19, August 21, October 16 and December 18, 2018 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Englewood Health Center 1135 W. 69th St. Englewood, IL February 15, April 19, June 21, August 16, October 18 and December 20, 2018 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Prieto Health Center 2424 S. Pulaski Rd. Chicago, IL January 4, March 1, May 3, July 5, September 6 and November 1, 2018 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
CORE Center 2020 W. Harrison St. Chicago, IL January 19, March 16, May 18, July 20, September 21 and November 16, 2018 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Austin Health Center 4800 W. Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL February 1, April 5, June 7, August 2, October 4 and December 6, 2018 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Cicero Health Center 5912 W. Cermak Rd. Chicago, IL February 6, April 3, June 5, August 7, October 2 and December 4, 2018 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Woodlawn Health Center 6337 S. Woodlawn Ave. Chicago, IL January 16, March 20, May 15, July 17, September 18 and November 20, 2018 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sengstacke Health Center/ Provident Hospital 500 E. 51st St.,Chicago, IL 60653 January 9, March 13, May 8, July 10,
September 11 and November 11, 2018
9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Summer Meals

Children 18 years and younger can get free, healthy meals at these CCH health centers. You do not need to be a current patient of CCH to access Summer Meals.  Other Summer Meals sites can be located by calling 1-800-359-2163 or by visiting here.

Site Name Address Start/End Dates Days/Times of Operation
Cottage Grove Health Center 1645 Cottage Grove Ave. Ford Heights, IL June 11 through August 31 Monday – Friday
12pm-1pm; no meals on July 6 or August 3
Englewood Health Center 1135 W. 69th Street Chicago, IL 60621 June 20 through August 31 Monday – Friday 11:00am-12:30pm
Robbins Health Center 13450 W. Kedzie Ave Robbins, IL 60472 June 19 through August 31 Monday – Friday 11:30am-12pm