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Illinois Takes Action: Addressing Food Insecurity with $20 Million Initiative

PRESS RELEASE: June 25, 2023

In a significant move to combat food insecurity, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed a bill that will allocate $20 million towards grants for grocers and research into the pressing issue of food scarcity. This initiative comes as a response to the growing concern of communities across Illinois that lack easy access to stores offering high-quality food.

The bill, which was signed by Gov. Pritzker, establishes a program designed to distribute the $20 million for grants and technical assistance specifically for grocery stores. This funding will also support research into the root causes and effects of food insecurity. The grants are targeted at grocery stores that are independently owned, encompassing for-profit and nonprofit organizations, co-ops, and even grocery stores owned by local government units.

The primary objective of this initiative is to provide residents with better access to quality food, which, in turn, can stimulate local economies. “When our residents struggle to keep a roof over their head, can’t put food on the table, or have to choose between paying for basic medical care and keeping the lights on – that’s a failure of the system,” stated Pritzker in a recent news release.

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2021 highlighted a concerning fact: at least 3 million Illinois residents live in areas classified as food deserts according to the new law. The state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has the authority to designate additional areas as food deserts if required.

Furthermore, data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau this spring revealed a disparity in food insecurity rates among different racial and ethnic groups. Multiracial, Hispanic, and Black households experience food insecurity at higher rates compared to white households.

The timeline for the distribution of these grants has not been specified yet. However, updates regarding the grant application process will be made available on the DCEO website. “We’re moving as fast as we can because we know there’s a need across the state,” emphasized Pritzker during a recent news conference.

State Rep. Mary Beth Canty, one of the bill’s chief sponsors, also highlighted the connection between food availability and community well-being. She mentioned that a lack of investment in communities often correlates with rising incidents of violence. Canty expressed hopes to address food availability from a public health perspective in future legislative efforts.

The Grocery Initiative, while originating among Democrats, received unanimous support in the Senate. However, it faced some opposition in the House, leading to a 96-17 vote.

Support the Fight Against Hunger

Food insecurity is not just a statistic; it’s a reality that millions face daily. By supporting initiatives like the one introduced by Gov. Pritzker, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of many. We urge you to join our mission to combat hunger in Chicago. Every donation, no matter the amount, can bring about change. Your contribution can ensure that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, has access to nutritious food.

Donate now and stand with us in the fight against hunger in Chicago!

Illinois Takes Action: Addressing Food Insecurity with $20 Million Initiative
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