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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 news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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