USDA statistics confirm escalating hunger crisis in northern Illinois
From press release
ST. CHARLES, Ill.—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA) reported Nov. 16 that 11.1 percent of Illinois residents are “food insecure,” meaning they lack consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.
In total, 49 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, are food insecure. The 2009 report on Household Food Insecurity in the United States illustrates a distressing representation of the pervasiveness of hunger in our nation.
H. Dennis Smith, president and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB), said: “These numbers affirm what we are seeing from our local food pantries that have seen an average increase of 35 percent in the number of individuals seeking food assistance. These individuals are your family, friends and neighbors who were adversely affected by the downturn in the economy and never thought they would need the extra help.
“The numbers used by the USDA study were reflective of 2008 prior to the dramatic economic collapse in 2009, which leads us to believe there are more people who face hunger than captured in the study,” Smith added.
NIFB holds 30 percent of the total number of unemployed workers in the state of Illinois and has 269,000 people living in poverty in its service area.
Elizabeth Donovan, NIFB director of Agencies and Programs, said: “The USDA numbers released Monday make the work we are doing on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization even more relevant. President Obama has outlined a plan to end Childhood Hunger by 2015, and we want to make sure Congress understands the important work we all have ahead to make the goal a reality.”
Northern Illinois Food Bank
NIFB is a non-profit organization that provides food to all those in need through its 520 partner agencies in the following 13 counties: Boone, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will and Winnebago.
NIFB acquires, gathers, handles and distributes donated, government and purchased food to more than 50,000 different people each week through local food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth activity centers and other food assistance sites.
In Fiscal Year 2009, NIFB distributed more than 27 million pounds of food. The Food Bank has recently launched a capital campaign to build a new Food Distribution and Community Nutrition Center to enable them to handle more food more efficiently to meet the increasing demand.
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