(Springfield, IL) March 2, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced 22 appointments to a commission aimed at eliminating hunger in Illinois.
“Too many of our children, parents and seniors don’t have food to put on the table every day,” said Quinn. “We must do everything we can to put an end to hunger Illinois, and this commission will help us to reach that important goal.”
According to the USDA, 11.1% of Illinois households face food insecurity. Additionally, Feeding Illinois has seen a 50% increase in requests for emergency food assistance over the past two years. In Illinois, 1,532,238 people, including 500,000 children, live in poverty or 12.2% of the population.
In July 2010, Quinn signed legislation, Senate Bill 3158, sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), creating the commission. The panel will be housed under the Department of Human Services.
“I was proud to sponsor the legislation creating the Commission to End Hunger, and it is my hope that the work of the commission will provide solutions to the Governor and legislature to make certain no Illinoisan goes to bed hungry,” Harmon said.
Individuals appointed to the commission include government officials, lawmakers and individuals from a variety of nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups:
- Cristal Thomas, Deputy Governor
- Kappy Scates, Lieutenant Governor’s Office
- State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero)
- State Rep. Patricia Bellock (R-Hinsdale)
- State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park)
- State Senator John Millner (R-Carol Stream)
- Kate Maehr, Greater Chicago Food Depository
- Mary Ellen Abbott, Illinois Hunger Coalition
- Marla Goodwin, Jeremiah’s Food Pantry
- Barb Karacic, Holy Family Food Pantry
- Tracy Smith, Feeding Illinois
- Amy Rynell, Social IMPACT Research Center, Heartland Alliance
- Kathy Ryg, Voices for Illinois Children
- Dan Lesser, Shriver Center
- Esperanza V. Gonzalez, Illinois Migrant Council
- Mark Ishaug, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
- Ahlam Jbara, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
- Gary Tomlin, Economic Development, Knox County
- Nicole Robinson, Kraft Foods
- Juanita Irizarry, Chicago Community Trust
- Terry Solomon, African-American Family Commission
- Joe Antolin, Latino Family Commission
Illinois’ eight food banks serve approximately 1 million individuals per year, according to Feeding Illinois.
The commission will explore how Illinois’ facilities may better coordinate and gain access to federal funding to meet those needs. It will also indentify barriers to access and develop sustainable policies and programs to overcome those barriers. The group will also promote and facilitate public-private partnerships to augment services.
Finally, the panel will develop an action plan every two years, review the progress of this plan, and ensure cross-collaboration among government entities and community partners. They will also work to identify funding sources that can be used to fight hunger and improve nutrition.