CHICAGO — Television and radio stations throughout Illinois are uniting in a statewide fundraising drive to combat hunger and food bank shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Illinois broadcasters, in partnership with Feeding Illinois and the Illinois Broadcasters Association, encourage their viewers and listeners to contribute monetary donations that will go a long way to bolster dwindling food supplies at area food banks.
Corporations and individuals looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of neighbors experiencing food hardship can contribute at:
www.feedingIllinois.org/unite and/or text to FEEDIL to 91999.
“WGN-TV, along with the other television stations in the city, have banded together to help our viewers in Illinois,” commented Vice President, General Manager of WGN-TV Paul Rennie. “In this crisis, we are working together to get Illinoisan’s the food supplies so greatly needed. We are proud to be part of the IBA and proud to be Chicago’s Very Own.”
“Illinois Broadcasters have joined together during these extraordinary times,” said Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) Board Chairman John Idler. “The need to shore up food supplies and help feed the hungry has never been greater. The IBA has a long tradition of rallying our members in times of crisis. We have never been prouder to serve the people of Illinois.”
On March 26, TV and radio stations throughout the state of Illinois will broadcast stories underscoring the urgent need for food during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
People who never before relied on food banks are now turning to them to feed their families. Prior to COVID-19, 1 in 8 Americans struggled with hunger. As the virus continues to wreak havoc on the economy, and Illinois unemployment rises, the need for food increases. In recent weeks, one Chicago area food bank estimates a 25-40 percent increase in clients needing help. Meanwhile, the Northern Illinois Food Bank’s pantry, located in Rockford, Illinois, served double its normal number of neighbors just last week alone. The demand for food has never been greater.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository supplies a network of more than 700 food pantries and shelters in Chicago, serving approximately 800,000 people.
“The need is going to be immense. That is our number one concern, the sheer number of people needing food because their income is suddenly gone. The best thing you can do right now is to make a donation to support your local food bank if you can,” said Kate Maehr, Executive Director & CEO, The Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The Northern Illinois Food Bank covers 13 counties of northern Illinois including suburban Chicago and serves 500,000 people a year.
“We are already seeing an influx of neighbors in need coming to our programs and to our member food pantries for food assistance”, said Julie Yurko, President and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank. “Our greatest priority right now is ensuring we have the resources to not only feed our neighbors today, but that we can continue to do so in the weeks and months to come as the economy and our neighbors recover from this crisis.”
The goal of ILLINOIS BROADCASTERS UNITING AGAINST HUNGER is to raise awareness and dollars so food banks can purchase the food they need to adequately serve the hungry in their local communities.
There are eight independent food banks serving 102 counties in Illinois, all of which are represented by Feeding Illinois.