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food insecurity

One in five children in county doesn't have enough food

By Julie Wurth/The News-Gazette -- One in five children in Champaign County doesn't have enough food, and many of them are not eligible for subsidized school lunches or other federal food assistance, hunger experts say.

The numbers come from a "food insecurity" study originally published last spring by Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization, and updated recently by Craig Gundersen, associate professor in the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- Canned foods fill the shelves at the Fisher Area Food Pantry.

Food insecurity grows in East Central Illinois

By Pam G. Dempsey ,, and Jim Meadows, Illinois Public Media/ Kenneth Nelsen made his way around the Blue Ridge Township Town Hall in Mansfield, picking up canned food and produce as part of the monthly food pantry sponsored there by Mansfield United Methodist Church.

His visit in May to the Martha’s Cupboard Food Pantry was his fifth time and as of now, his only consistent source of food.

Pam G. Dempsey/ box of food from Martha's Cupboard Food Pantry sits on porch at an apartment complex across the street from the Blue Ridge Township Town Hall in Mansfield on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Apartment residents visit the monthly food pantry for supplies, which serves about 40 families. The town of Mansfield lacks a large grocery store. Nearly 2 million people statewide are do not have the money or resources to regularly get the food they need, according to a recent national study.

Local elementary school joins the Backpack Program

By Rubina Ali/For CU-CitizenAccess/ Food insecurity – not knowing where your next meal will come from – is a problem that more and more people face every day. Even children.

But a program right in Champaign County is providing relief to kids from families who experience food insecurity.

The BackPack Program sends in-need children home on Friday afternoons with backpacks full of food to make sure there’s enough to eat over the weekend. According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 50 million people, including one in four children, struggle to get enough food to eat.

Rubina Ali/Social worker Mary Bragg hands fifth-grade student Tyrone Gordon a bag of food to take home over the weekend courtesy of the BackPack Program recently at Carrie Busey Elementary School. This was the first year the school had the BackPack Program, a national program that provides qualified students with supplement food during the weekends.

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