Those who struggle to get enough to eat are a growing part of the Illinois population. The USDA reports that 13.3 percent of Illinois households were food insecure at some point over the last three years.
“Food insecure means that people do not have enough income to access the quantity and the quality of food that they need, and that there are periods of time that they are not able to have the food that they need to feed their families,” says Diane Doherty, executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition.
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The 13.3 percent figure is up slightly from 12.9 percent in the previous survey. Doherty says in an economy with unemployment and underemployment higher than we’d like, those affected long-term have run out of resources.
She says food stamps help, but they’re not a full solution. She says people need jobs that pay living wages to keep them out of food pantries.