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hunger in our own backyard

People are hungry in your community, and they are just like you. These are tenuous times where we are all very close to finding ourselves without. Our family is learning more about this and putting some of our free time to good use lately at a local food pantry. In addition to organizing a food drive, we’ve visited The Green Harvest Food Pantry three times now and plan to continue. Patricia, the volunteer coordinator there, always puts us to work. Aidan loves the time we spend there–often hours at a stretch. He feels like he’s working at a grocery store which is a lot of fun for him, but he also loves the fact that it’s time spent helping others who really need it.

up the food chain

Recently, we also paid a visit to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, which is the principle agency (beyond individual donations) that provides food to local food pantries like The Green Harvest. This was very interesting for us all to better understand the “supply chain,” if you will, of these humanitarian efforts. We hope soon to visit a shelter and soup kitchen, as well.

a few startling numbers

According the the The Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) annual report, the NIFB provided food assistance to 502,400 people last year–a 168% increase from 2006; 61,600 different people receive food assistance from the NIFB each week–a 65% increase from 2006; 43% of the households include at least one employed adult; 48% of the members of households served by NIFB are children under 18 years of age; 54% of clients report having to choose between paying for food and paying for their utilities; 49% of clients report having to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage.

Our entire family has been enjoying our time learning about ways to help feed our neighbors in need; but it’s a bitter kind of satisfaction to be sure. The need for volunteers, for donations, for support of all kinds is tremendous–because people are hungry. Here’s hoping that one day food pantries, soup kitchens, and regional food banks go out of business due to lack of need. In the meantime, we’ll continue to do our best to help. Every little bit matters.

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