The past year was one of both important achievements and significant challenges in our shared efforts to end hunger and food insecurity in Illinois. Hunger and food insecurity (a lack of access, at times, to enough food) are very real issues in every one of Illinois' 102 counties, affecting a total of more than 1.5 million residents. Our work will not cease as long as even one family in Illinois faces hunger.
The Commission has established three working groups -- No Kid Hungry, Emergency Food System and Benefits Access -- to develop solutions for hunger across the state, with the help of thousands of elected officials, government employees, volunteers and donors, food banks and partner organizations, faith-based organizations, foundations and community groups. Each working group has developed an action plan to target specific populations and leverage existing infrastructure.
To read the 2017 Commission Report, please click here.
Join the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and No Kid Hungry Illinois for the Cook County Summer Meals Summit Tuesday, October 24, 2017 from 8:30am - 3:30pm at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, 4100 West Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632. The Summit will engage BOTH Summer Meals Program Sponsors and potential At-Risk After-School Meals Program Sponsors in discussions on best practices, successes and challenges, future planning, and strategies to increase participation. The Summit also offers a Q&A with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a brief information session on becoming an At-Risk After-School Meals Sponsor.
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP); also known as the Summer Meals program and Child and Adult Care Food Program's (CACFP) At-Risk After-school Meals Program are federally funded by the USDA and administered by ISBE. These programs provide nutritious meals and snacks to kids.
When the school bell rings at the end of the day, or the end of the school year, many children who rely on free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch are unsure of where their next meal will come from. This means that for many children, summer and after-school meal programs are their only opportunity to access a healthy meal during these time periods.
Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, Illinois schools with 70% or more of the student population eligible for free or reduced-price meals will begin offering Breakfast After the Bell – which means serving breakfast as part of the school day. This will help ensure kids in 890 schools across the state have access to a healthy breakfast to start their day! Currently, the school breakfast program in Illinois is only reaching 47.7% of kids who are eating a free or reduced-price lunch, but implementation of Breakfast After the Bell increases access to the nutrition kids require each morning to learn and succeed in the classroom.