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8 Ways to Help People Who are Food Insecure
Find Ways to Volunteer from Home or In-Person
In this time of crisis, many people in our community are looking for ways to give back. We appreciate that our region is full of hand-raisers and do-gooders! With the help of generous people like you, we can work together to manage the impact of COVID-19.
One big effect of the current crisis is a growing number of families and individuals who are food insecure. Food insecurity means that someone's access to food or eating has decreased because of a lack of money and other resources. As people in our community face furloughs, layoffs, and other financial challenges the need to have access to low-cost and free food has increased.
You can help these local families. To make sure everyone is able to give back while keeping themselves safe we have put together a list of ways to help that can be done from home as well as in-person.
3 Ways to Help People Who are Food Insecure from Home
1. Donate The easiest way to help from home - donate! United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties works with multiple organizations who lead the fight against hunger. By donating you are amplifying our collective impact in the community. For example, a local food pantry can stretch five dollars into twenty dollars through bulk purchasing.
2. Write a lawmaker Recent legislative bills, like the CARES Act, do a great deal to support people who are food insecure. But there are many year-round anti-hunger programs that could use more support. You can help keep these important programs in place and encourage lawmakers to pass policies that prioritize access to healthy foods for families by writing letters or calling our local lawmakers. Here are a few suggestions on what to advocate for:
Protect access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation's largest anti-hunger program. SNAP provides access to food for those who cannot afford it. It's an important temporary lifeline for millions of Americans - mostly children, seniors and veterans.
Support the Child Nutrition program reauthorization. Call on Congress to protect and strengthen access to these programs to ensure all kids can be healthy and thrive.
Ask to increase funding for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that stabilizes families when their incomes and assets are limited and ensure babies, mothers, children and families have access to nutritious food in tough times.
3. Call local farms, stores, and restaurants about food rescue programs Traditional sources of donations to food banks are changing. Most of our local partners used to rely on retailers and restaurants donating extra items. But as restaurants closed and retailers struggled to stock their shelves donations from those sources decreased. With this turn of events, food banks are increasingly relying on food rescue programs. Volunteers can help from home by contacting possible suppliers, such as local farms that used to sell items to restaurants as well as stores and restaurants that might have non-perishable items to see if they are willing to donate food.