The Palestine Food Pantry, in conjunction with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Eastern Illinois Foodbank, are once again teaming up to distribute a truckload of food to hungry area families.
The distribution will be at the Palestine firehouse, 104 E. Harrison, from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 26. All Crawford County residents who meet income eligibility criteria are welcome.
The effort is part of the Foodbank's Foodmobile Program, a system of mobile food pantries designed to help bring nutritious food to areas of chronic or extreme need.
Through the program, local companies and organizations are invited to contribute toward a one-day distribution of food and optionally participate in the distribution process. The cost to partner with the Foodbank on a Foodmobile distribution is $2,500.
The Foodmobile distribution comes at a critical moment for area residents. New data released this year by Feeding America, the nation's network of food banks, shows that a staggering 15 percent of people in eastern Illinois are considered food insecure, which means they sometimes lack adequate access to food. More shockingly, over 20 percent of children are food insecure.
"The number of people in eastern Illinois struggling to get food on the tables has been on a 10-year climb," said Jim Hires, Executive Director at the Foodbank. "Eastern Illinois has been hit especially hard. We are so grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for their commitment to helping the hungry through corporate giving and service."
All eligible residents of Crawford County needing food are welcome. To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $3,554 per month for a family of four. Other area Foodmobile distributions can be found by visiting the Foodbank's website at www.eifoodbank.org and clicking "find help."
Eastern Illinois Foodbank works to alleviate hunger in eastern Illinois through cooperation with a network of food pantries, agencies and other programs like the Foodmobile Program. The Foodbank distributes donated and discounted food throughout a 14-county service area in cooperation with 220 member agencies and programs. Through these agencies, the Foodbank provides food to more than 100,000 different men, women and children each year. The Eastern Illinois Foodbank is a member of Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest), Feeding Illinois, the United Way of Coles County and the United Way of Champaign County.