Heat or eat: A difficult choice for some in winter

Staff Report

GENEVA, Illinois — One of the most distressing choices hungry have to make is whether to buy food or pay for utilities. A full 77 percent of households served by Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) report having to make that choice.

While hunger is an issue that persists throughout the year, it can lead to particularly difficult choices during the winter. The effects of the sub-zero temperatures throughout the region in early January continue to be felt by hungry neighbors now facing high utility bills. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates low-income families eat less during the winter to compensate for increases in the heating bill.

NIFB and its network of 800 community food pantries, soup kitchens and feeding programs offer assistance for families faced with the choice of buying food or paying for heat. When finances are tight, neighbors in need can rely on their local food pantries and feeding programs as a place where they can receive nutritious food.

At NIFB, every $1 donated helps the Food Bank provide $8 worth of food. The Food Bank serves 71,000 people each week across 13 counties.

If you need help, visit www.SolveHungerToday.org/GetHelp for a locator map with information about nearby food pantries and soup kitchens. To help a neighbor in need, visit www.SolveHungerToday.org to make a tax-deductible donation.

From the Feb. 4-10, 2015, issue

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