EAST PEORIA, Ill. — Twenty partnering organizations in the tri-county area are part of the Health Food System Partners group, working together to address food insecurity.
“We know that food that’s inventoried in emergency food systems isn’t always optimal. There’s extra salt in canned food as an example,” said Amy Christison, Asst. Professor at the Pediatric Department at UICOMP. “We know that the population that experience food insecurity experiences quite a few problems like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart.”
The group is working on increasing the availability of healthy foods.
“This is an exciting opportunity to bring a lot of different stake holders and interested agencies, people, community members, organizations so that we can all brainstorm about how we can best coordinate our efforts to really address our problem with hunger in our community,” said Christison.
Andy Fisher, author of the book Big Hunger, was a special guest speaker at a meeting Thursday. He said there should be a different approach to ending hunger rather than just distributing food.
“I’m hoping that people understand that we need to address the root causes of hunger and not just put a band aid on the problem by offering free food. We need to address poverty and low wages and we need to be thinking about health at the same time,” said Fisher.
Fisher said he’s been working on the issue since he was in his 20s.
“If we don’t address the root causes, we are just going to keep perpetuating the problem over and over and we will never succeed,” said Fisher.