More Illinois families are struggling to put food on the table, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report estimates that 13 percent of Illinois households were what is called “food insecure” between 2010 and 2012, meaning they lacked enough food for a healthy lifestyle. That’s an increase of more than 4 percentage points from a decade ago, which is no surprise to Diane Doherty of the Illinois Hunger Coalition.
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“I can just read the Wall Street Journal and know that people are hungry,” Doherty said. “Looking at what the economy is like and what it’s been like since 2008, looking at what kind of jobs there are. No, unfortunately, I’m not surprised. I wish that I were.” Doherty says that with numbers like these, it’s no time to cut benefits like food stamps, now officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. She believes that if $40 billion in funding for food stamps is cut over 10 years, as has been proposed by some Republicans in the U.S. House, the hunger problem will get “incredibly worse.”