National volunteers bring nutrition to Chicago's food deserts - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

National volunteers bring nutrition to Chicago's food deserts

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A local food pantry is getting a boost from national volunteers who are in Chicago to help locals learn about nutrition and growing healthy foods in neighborhoods.

Food pantries are busier than ever. The demand for food is great, especially in Chicago's neediest neighborhoods.

Coppin Community Center on the Chicago's South Side is a food pantry that feeds and provides nutrition awareness in a 'food desert.' A food desert is a location where it is difficult to access affordable, nutritious foods.

Washington Park has the highest rate of food insecurity in Cook County, about 45 percent. Organizers say the area is in need of fresh fruit, vegetables and gardening and cooking knowledge.

Coppin is receiving help from an AmeriCorps NCCC group to improve access to healthy food by building an urban garden. The team is also leading workshops on nutrition, wellness and the environment.

"These motivated national service volunteers add to the already-strong ethic of service on which we pride ourselves in Illinois; beyond just the project outcomes of the teams, the selflessness and grit of these national service members sends a great message to our youth that service matters," Brandon Bodor with Serve Illinois said.

Pastor Wilson with Coppin said the volunteers have been a huge help.

"We have nine college students on site for five weeks helping us build our peace garden and capacity with our weekly food pantry and doing some projects around the church," Wilson said.

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