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Equity is our race, culture, ethnicity, and identity blog. The blog focuses on coverage important to Illinois and its improvement. Evidence of performance of public policies and their impact will be reported and analyzed. We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of equity and diversity:Maureen Foertsch McKinney and Rachel Otwell curate this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.

Equity: Hunger In Illinois

Greater Chicago Food Depository
Bags of food are prepared for distribution

Just under 2 million people a year are fed by food banks in Illinois, according to the 2015 report of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger, which released its annual analysis last week.

That bit of information was the backbone of a report prepared by the commission, which is in its fifth year.

One of the major trends noted was a boost in the number of meals served throughout the School Breakfast Program.  Prior to the establishment of the Commission to End Hunger, in 2009, Illinois ranked 51st in program enrollment among the states and the District of Columbia. Now, Illinois ranks 40th. Despite that increase, the report noted that 446,000 low-income children do not receive school breakfast, according to the report.

The report also cites statistics from the Hunger in American 2014’s focus on Illinois, which notes

that 64 percent of food bank programs reported an increased need from 2013. Meanwhile, 61 percent of Illinois food bank client families had at least one member who worked for pay in the 12-month period covered. 

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen joined the Illinois Issues in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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