Currently in Archives. Click here to return to the new CU-CitizenAccess.Org website at any time.


Soup kitchen sees increase in demand

By Julie Wurth/The News-Gazette/CHAMPAIGN — About 30 people lined up for opening day at the new Daily Bread Soup Kitchen a year ago, then strictly a sandwiches-and-chips operation.

Today that number has quadrupled, with an average of 125 people showing up five days a week for a hot meal, conversation and, sometimes, a welcoming hug.

Forced out on its own by the Catholic Worker House in August 2009, the soup kitchen moved down the street and reopened a month later at New Covenant Fellowship, 124 W. White St., C.

The News-Gazette/Dan Cahill, U, eats his lunch at the Daily Bread soup kitchen at New Covenant Fellowship in Champaign on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010.

Volunteers take on food challenge

By Julie Wurth/The News-Gazette URBANA — They can give up meat, they can give up snacks, but Lord help them if you take away their coffee.

Volunteers taking part in a challenge to eat on a food stamp budget for a week are finding the hardest part may be giving up their morning caffeine.

Brenda Koester didn’t even try.

“I’m doing a cheater’s version,” Koester, coordinator of the University of Illinois Family Resiliency Center, said Monday morning, the second day of her challenge. She is simply not counting her daily cup of Strawberry Fields coffee.

The News-Gazette/Jim Hires, left, Exec. Director and Cheryl Precious, director of

Convenience stores netting more local food stamp dollars as usage soars

By Pam G. Dempsey — Champaign native Miesha Jones spends the $315 a month she receives in federal food assistance benefits at Sam’s Club.

Jones, the single mother of a three-year-old daughter, usually takes her monthly shopping trip to the bulk food club or, on occasion, Wal-Mart.

CU-CitizenAccess/The number of convenience stores accepting food stamps has increased in Champaign County over the past three years. The use of food stamp spending at these stores has some health officials worried over the lack of fresh and nutritional food choices.

Senior citizens find respite in area-wide food programs

By Susan Kantor—Betty, a 73-year-old Champaign resident, receives a check from Social Security the third Wednesday of every month. She worked all her life, but without one steady job, she does not receive a pension in retirement.

CU Citizen Access/ A worker prepares sack meals for senior citizens as part of the Peace Meal Senior Nutrition Program

Champaign food pantry needs help to keep up with growing demand

CHAMPAIGN – There's always a line at the Salt and Light food pantry, where experienced customers know to come early for a good spot in line.

John Dixon/The News-Gazette/Mary Kay Bosch, right, a volunteer and recipient of food at Salt and Light Ministry, and Marion Smith fill shopping baskets Wednesday at the food pantry. 'I figure if I get food, I'm gonna work for it,' Bosch said.

Rantoul kids learn healthy alternatives to snack food

Betty Armstrong of the Champaign County University of Illinois Extension teaches children from the Rantoul Area Project how to make a healthy vegetable pizza.

CU-Citizen Access/ Ingredients for a vegetable pizza lay across a table for a project by the Champaign County University of Illinois Extension Office

Summer program boosts nutrition and excercise in local Boys and Girls Club

By Susan Kantor—The Triple Play Program promotes wellness in children through exercise and nutrition education.

CU Citizen Access/ Participants eat cereal as part of the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club Triple Play Program

Food pantry seeks donations

CHAMPAIGN – Salt and Light Ministry had to close its doors early on Wednesday because it completely ran out of food.

Salt and Light Ministry Assistant Melany Jackson said the organization's food distribution program, which usually runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, shut down at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Jackson said 400 families came in to collect food.

"We went through $1,500 of groceries in 2 1/2 hours," Jackson said. "It is very difficult for us to turn people away who are counting on us for help. It broke our hearts to tell people we didn't have any more food."

Jackson said Salt and Light has been providing food to an average of 420 people, representing 1,500 people, over the last four weeks.


¨ Copyright 2011 CU-CitizenAccess.