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Covid-19 Efforts Continue
Feeding America has analyzed the potential impact of the pandemic and we estimate up to an additional 17.1 million people could experience food insecurity, many for the first time. This represents a 46 percent increase from the 37.2 million who were food insecure prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.
In Illinois alone, 1,921,910 people may face hunger this year, many for the first time - an increase of 638,360 people because of the pandemic! This would increase the rate of food insecurity in Illinois from 10.1 percent of the population to 15.1 percent of the population.
During the outbreak, Feeding Illinois Food Bank members are continuing to provide core services while taking all precautions to protect their workers and minimize the spread of COVID-19. The requisite services of the food banks are acquiring, storing, and distributing food to roughly 2,400 member agencies in all 102 counties of Illinois. Essential back-office functions, such as agency relations, community outreach, financial management, and donation handling must also continue to operate at some level. All of these become more challenging as more staff work remotely and volunteers hesitate to continue any potential personal-contact activities at both the food banks and agencies.
The respective needs of the individual food banks are fluid and their responses are adapting to local situations. What follows is a brief synopsis of their most pressing situations and needs. The most critical needs are:
• Funds - to purchase additional foods and support expanded services.
• Volunteers - to help sort, pack, and distribute food at both food banks and agencies.
• Boxes, Bags & To-Go Containers - to pre-pack food for alternative (i.e., social-distancing) distributions.
All the food banks have expanded or incorporated some type of mobile, drive-through, or knock-and-drop distributions to facilitate social distancing, agency closings, and volunteer drop-offs. Demand for food and program assistance is expanding daily, with inquiries for food and where to find assistance escalating. SNAP Outreach teams report being inundated with referrals and inquiries; receiving more referrals in a day than they usually would in a month.
The most-drastic negative impact has been volunteers staying home that has essentially forced some agencies to close or take that precaution to protect their mostly-senior workforce. This is also impeding the food banks' ability to sort, process, and pack food and boxes.
If the situation continues, growing concerns are:
The Feeding Illinois and Feeding America food bank networks will continue to need additional food and funds from the government to help meet increased need, but the single most important thing we can do to put money into the hands of people who need to purchase food is to increase the SNAP maximum benefit by 15 percent for the duration of the economic downturn.
For every meal provided by our food banks, SNAP provides nine! There is simply no way that our network can make up for the unparalleled strength of SNAP to increase food security - and stimulate local economies. Every dollar spent in SNAP benefits helps generate between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity. Increasing the SNAP maximum benefit by 15% would stimulate Illinois’s economy and ensure people facing hunger have access to the meals they need.
Projecting longer term, if the situation persists or worsens to the point of agencies being unable pickup at food banks nor residents seeking assistance able to visit food pantries or feeding sites, then food banks will have to devise a distribution network and systems that do not widely exist today - such as expanded, long-term home deliveries - which none of the Illinois food banks are adequately or readily-staffed to implement and sustain.
As Congress works on additional legislation to help families weather this crisis, we along with Feeding America, recommend:
- Increasing TEFAP food and administrative funding.
- Increasing SNAP benefits for all recipients by increasing the thrifty food plan by at least 15 percent for as long as the economy is weak to help promote economic stimulus and push against the economic downturn.
- This will provide critical food resources for families and relieve some of the pressure on our network.
- Increasing the SNAP minimum benefit from $16 to $30 to help individuals impacted by COVID19, particularly seniors, for the duration of the economic downturn.
While its generally been reported greater at-risk factors for COVID-19 among the general population are those people age 50+ and with pre-existing health conditions, the residents the Feeding Illinois food banks its network of local agencies serve may be equally, if not more, susceptible to this virus - due to lesser access to adequate health care and treatment, lower resistance or compromised immune systems, stigma or bias, or lack of information about proper prevention and care.
Feeding Illinois food banks and their agencies are trusted community resources, and our respective and collective efforts can be essential to your community’s health by:
(1) Providing nourishment to vulnerable populations during this time of heightened anxiety,
(2) Ensuring that we treat all people with respect and dignity, and
(3) Conveying accurate information to help protect the neighbors we serve.
Please consider helping us meet this obligation with a generous gift to provide continued - and expanded - support and relief to those individuals and families impacted most by the ongoing health emergency.
To Help, Please Click on http://www.feedingamerica.org/covidIL
We pledge to direct your contribution to the food bank serving your area and where it can do the most good to help meet this continued crisis in Illinois. We are committed to serving people in need, wherever they are. We, along with Feeding America and numerous other private and public entities, are constantly and carefully monitoring developments regarding the spread of COVID-19. Feeding America is also actively consulting with FEMA, National VOAD, the USDA, and leveraging other partners who are in a position to support measures to ensure access to food for the most vulnerable members of our communities during this situation.
Additional COVID-19 Information & Resources
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Welcome to Feeding Illinois
Vision: A hunger-free Illinois.
Mission: To coordinate and support the efforts of its member food banks and their partners serving Illinois in their collective and collaborative efforts to provide access to a healthy and adequate food supply for our Illinois neighbors in need.
Purpose: Feeding Illinois is the association of eight Feeding America food banks that serve Illinois. Together, we provide food and other services to every county in Illinois through a vast network of member agencies and specialized feeding programs. One out of nine Illinois residents, including 1 in 6 children, struggle with hunger - which is staggering and unnecessary; and Feeding Illinois members play a critical role in responding to this need.
As the state association for food banks serving Illinois, we help unify strategies and pool resources to strengthen and support the food banks’ local efforts to eliminate hunger in Illinois. Through vast coordination and with relentless commitment, each food bank has identified the specific needs of their communities and has developed a comprehensive array of programs and services to combat food insecurity - both short-term and long-term. As 11% of Illinois residents awake every day uncertain of where or unable to access their next meal, Feeding Illinois members are working vigorously with a statewide network of more than 2,400 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other agencies to distribute or serve over 190 million meals annually to those 1.4 million hungry neighbors across our state.
Please Support Our Illinois Food Banks
The food banks serving all 102 counties and the rural, suburban, and urban communities across Illinois are facing challenges in distributing food to individuals and families safely in accordance with state and federal guidelines. In addition to these challenges, food banks have seen a significant increase in demand, with individuals waiting hours at food bank distribution sites. To continue to serve people as this crisis continues, we expect to need additional TEFAP food and administrative funding.
COVID-19 Efforts: Please click on the Covid-19 tab to learn how Feeding Illinois food banks and their agency networks are working and innovating to meet the unprecedented need in communities across the state to continue and expand services in maintaining our mission.
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"Thank you" for your interest in Feeding Illinois and our association of food banks.
Please, feel to reach out to us by phone or email any time.
FEEDING ILLINOIS Steve Ericson, Executive Director
273 Dearborn Court Geneva, IL 60134-3587 Phone 630.768.8068
CENTRAL ILLINOIS FOODBANK
1937 E. Cook Street Springfield, Illinois 62703 217.522.4022 Service area: Adams, Bond, Brown, Cass, Christian, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Menard,
Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, and Shelby counties
EASTERN ILLINOIS FOODBANK 2405 North Shore Drive Urbana, IL 61802-7221 (217) 328-3663 Service area: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Livingston, McLean,
Moultrie, Piatt, Vermilion, and Woodford counties
GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place Chicago, IL 60632 773.247.3663 Service area: Chicago and Cook County NORTHERN ILLINOIS FOOD BANK 273 Dearborn Court Geneva, IL 60134 630.443.6910 Service area: Boone, Dekalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will, and Winnebago counties PEORIA AREA FOOD BANK 721 W. McBean Street Peoria, IL 61605 309.671.3906 Service area: Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties RIVER BEND FOODBANK 4010 Kimmel Drive Davenport, IA 52802 563.345.6490 Service area: Bureau, Carroll, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Knox, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Putnam,
Rock Island, Stark, Warren, and Whiteside counties
ST. LOUIS AREA FOODBANK 70 Corporate Woods Drive St. Louis, MO 63044 314.292.6262 Service area: Calhoun, Clinton, Franklin, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington, and Williamson counties TRI-STATE FOOD BANK 801 E. Michigan Street Evansville, IN 47711 812.425.0775 Service area: Alexander, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Johnson, Lawrence, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Union, Wabash,
Wayne, and White counties
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Who We Are
Feeding Illinois is the state association of eight food banks serving all 102 counties in Illinois. Member food banks work through a network of member agencies and community, corporate, and government partners. Together, we are stronger and more efficient than the sum of our parts. Working as a cohesive system is the only way we can truly solve the hunger crisis.
Feeding Illinois' mission is to coordinate and support the efforts of member food banks serving Illinois, enabling them to better provide a healthy and adequate food supply for those in need.
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Volunteers are the backbone of the food bank network. Whether you volunteer as an individual or with a group the food banks serving Illinois need your help. To learn about volunteer needs at the food bank near you visit them online.
Keep in mind that volunteer shifts fill up quickly during the holidays so be sure to put your requests in early!