In an effort to boost food donations during the coronavirus pandemic, the Illinois Broadcasters Association announced a campaign Wednesday to raise $250,000 for the state's food banks.
The drive, organized with Feeding Illinois, will begin Thursday, organizers said. Television and radio stations throughout the state will broadcast stories about the urgent need for food and monetary donations.
"Illinois Broadcasters have joined together during these extraordinary times," IBA Board Chairman John Idler said in a statement. "The need to shore up food supplies and feed the hungry has never been greater."
The drive will provide critical resources to eight food banks, which serve 102 counties in Illinois. All expect to see a increase in demand for their services as coronavirus cases rise.
Prior to the pandemic, one in eight Americans already struggled with hunger.
The need for food will only go up as children who normally count on food from school are now at home, and hundreds of thousands of people in the state see smaller or no paychecks at all.
The food banks benefitting from the IBA drive are: Central Illinois Foodbank, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Peoria Area Food Bank, River Bend Foodbank, St. Louis Area Foodbank and Tri-State Food Bank.
The Northern Illinois Food Bank, in Rockford, served double the normal number of neighbors last week alone. The Greater Chicago Food Depository already serves approximately 800,000 people per year.
"The need is going to be immense," said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the depository. "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 make a donation to support your local food bank if you can."
People can contribute here or by texting FEEDIL to 91999.