45,000 people in the Tri-County area are struggling with hunger.
That includes about 15,000 kids.
There’s a new grant program called “Ending Hunger Together” by the Community Foundation of Central Illinois.
While the community already has numerous food banks, shelters, and businesses striving to end this struggle, CFCI wants to get organizations to work together to address food insecurities.
“The aim is to take a systemic look at the issues that are causing hunger in our community and address those,” said Mark Roberts, CEO of Community Foundation of Central Illinois.
“I think it’s the first time in the area that we’re really seeing a truly collaborative effort that stretches not just in Peoria,” said Denise Urycki, Executive Director Gifts in the Moment Foundation. “Food insecurity exists everywhere.”
There’s $40,000 on the table for local 501c3’s looking to provide evidence-based plans to fight food insecurities in Central Illinois.
“We’re trying to foster collaboration amongst our non-profits,” said Roberts. “When we stepped back and did all of our research for this, we found a lot of organizations do a lot of great work, but in many cases their working in silo’s, they’re working in isolation.”
The goal of the grant money is to encourage our local organizations to band together and pool their resources to help make a larger stronger impact.
“At the Peoria Area Food Bank, which is a part of PCCEO, we have distributed this year, over 1.5 million pounds of food … we have provided food to over 83 pantries in the three counties we service,” said Wayne Cannon, Peoria Area Food Bank Manager with PCCEO.
Another initiative the foundation is encouraging is getting more fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands of those who need affordable nutrition.
“We want our people to eat healthy,” said Cannon. “We want our people to get nutritious food. We want to teach them to eat healthy.”
By addressing healthy food access, community education and economic development, the foundation and community partners are hopeful to see actual change.
“This is a collaborative effort,” said Urycki. “There are going to be opportunities from all facets of the community to step forward and be a part of this, a part of the solution.”
Four members from the Association of Latino Professionals in Financing and Accounting at Bradley University collected $100 to donate to the new grant program.
Final grant decisions will be made in March of 2019.