Study: 19,450 kids in Winnebago County at risk of hunger
GENEVA, Ill. — New data show a fraction of the children who face hunger in Chicagoland are getting the nutritious food they need to grow and learn. Their situation is compounded in the summer when free and reduced school lunches are not available.
The Map the Meal Gap Child Hunger study released June 4 by Feeding America indicates one in five children faces hunger in the 13 northern Illinois counties surrounding Cook County.
Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) and its partner feeding programs will provide approximately 5,000 kids with meals this summer through its Summer Meal Program, in partnership with the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. The program provides breakfasts, lunches and snacks to children from low-income families through summer youth programs and centers.
In addition to the Summer Meal Program sites, the food bank provides food to approximately 30,000 kids each week through 600 partner feeding programs in 13 northern Illinois counties.
“Despite our great efforts to provide food to children throughout the year, the reality is it’s not enough,” said Pete Schaefer, president and CEO of NIFB.
Study data indicate there are more than 204,000 hungry children in northern Illinois. The percentages range from 16.4 percent of children in DuPage County to 26.8 percent of kids in Winnebago County.
As the economy continues to struggle, families are making tough choices. When faced with the challenge of paying for shelter, utilities, gas to get to work, or buying food, food often loses out.
“We are intent on solving hunger in northern Illinois, but we need help,” Schaefer said. “We need food, funding and volunteers so no neighborhood kid goes hungry.”
For more about NIFB’s summer meal sites, the Map the Meal Gap Child Hunger Study, or to get involved in solving hunger in northern Illinois, visit www.SolveHungerToday.org or call (630) 443-6910.
NIFB, a member of Feeding America, is a non-profit organization that engages the community in a commitment to feed our hungry neighbors. Across 13 counties, food manufacturers, local groceries, corporations, foundations and individuals come together to donate food and funds, and evaluate and repack food for distribution to more than 600 network partners — the food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than 60,000 different people each week. That commitment provided 29 million meals last year to those in need.
From the June 6-12, 2012, issue
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