The Greater Chicago Food Depository is one of the country’s largest food banks, providing 70 million pounds of food to men, women and children in the Chicago area through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs. In 2001, preparing for a major expansion of facilities and programs, the Food Depository launched a $30 million capital campaign amidst a challenging fundraising environment. Following the campaign, the Food Depository expanded its marketing and communications activities to heighten visibility and raise awareness among funders, volunteers and policymakers. In 2009, the Food Depository marked its 30th anniversary and launched a citywide public awareness campaign. More recently, the Food Depository has refined its branding and messaging to heighten awareness of its every-day commitment to the community and its innovation.
Melcher+Tucker Consultants initially collaborated with the Food Depository's management and graphic designers to develop and write all content for the capital campaign materials. MTC interviewed management, staff and volunteers, and visited food pantries and homeless shelters. The campaign materials were widely praised for compelling story-telling. We developed the media plan and information kit for the campaign launch. Since the successful conclusion of the campaign and opening of a new warehouse and training center, MTC has provided counsel to senior management on issues ranging from brand messaging, leadership transition and strategic planning to public relations, issue development, and signature event planning. From 2014 through early 2016, MTC served as acting Chief Marketing Officer, working to develop messaging, a new advertising campaign and communications strategy.
The Food Depository’s brand and its service have become widely recognized and respected locally and nationally. We have executed local and national media relations campaigns; assisted in the planning of major events, from the opening of a new facility to its 30th anniversary; conducted media training for senior management; and provided strategic counsel to leadership. The Food Depository has been featured in Chicago print and TV outlets, plus the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, FastCompany, Business Week, The NewsHour and NBC Nightly News. Its current leader, Kate Maehr, was honored as one of Chicago’s top young executives in Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 issue and, in 2013, received Feeding America’s Dick Goebel Public Service award for her service to communities, extensive public policy advocacy, and tireless energy and creativity in developing solutions to help reach increasing numbers. Perhaps most important, the Food Depository is now serving more hungry men, women and children than ever before.