The Central Illinois Food Bank provided information and statistics to Feeding America, a nationwide group of food banks that sponsored and released the study.
Kristy Gilmore, the Food and Agency Resource Director for the Central Illinois Food Bank, says that this kind of information will lead to better food banks.
“Well one of the things that’s definitely going to help us is that we know that 64% of the individuals seeking food assistance want fresh fruits and vegetables, 51% would like to see more dairy, and 47% would like to see more protein like meat,” says Gilmore.
“So, when they are going to the grocery store, those are items that are more expensive. They are having to make choices to buy less expensive food which typically is unhealthy. So we can target those items and focus more heavily on providing those items to our agencies.”
Gilmore reminds us that there is always need for community support for local food relief programs.
“This is a great opportunity for individuals to rise up and help out, by either donating to their local food pantry or soup kitchen. We know that a high percent, 64%, of individuals would like to see more fresh fruits and vegetables and now is the perfect time because people are growing those things in their gardens,” she says.
“If they have access, to drop those off at your local agency or here at the food bank. Or, to think about writing a check to the food bank or to their local agency to help them meet the needs of the individuals in the local community.”
According to the information released, 58 percent of those polled had to decide between paying for food and paying for housing, and 68 percent had to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care.
The Central Illinois Food Bank sponsors the quarterly mobile food pantry in Jacksonville, which helped feed over 200 households last week.