Although Illinois is a leading producer of agricultural
commodities, one in five Illinois children experiences hunger. 4-H
is answering the call to help struggling families in their local
communities through the 4-H Feeding and Growing program.
Since August of 2013, Illinois 4-H members and volunteers have paid
for and packaged 436,197 meals in partnership with Illini Fighting
Hunger, a University of Illinois student group which looks for local
solutions to hunger. The rice casserole meals include long-grain
white rice, a blend of vitamins and chicken flavoring, dehydrated
vegetables and textured soy protein.
“The balanced, nutritious meal provides 16 essential vitamins and
minerals and is easy to prepare,” said Bill Million, U of I
Extension 4-H youth development specialist. Families are also
provided easy recipes using the meal ingredients.
4-H volunteers form assembly lines, and the separate ingredients are
combined in plastic bags and sealed for distribution to local food
4-H members in Logan, Menard and Sangamon Counties are helping feed
families in need. On March 6, 45 volunteers packaged 10,182 meals
which will be distributed to local food pantries in Auburn, Loami,
Tri-City, Petersburg, Greenview, Lincoln, Springfield and service
organizations, including Community Action Partnership of Central
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“Food insecurity threatens the health of children and families
across the state, from very rural to our urban areas,” said Million.
“4-H Feeding and Growing teaches youth to assess the needs in their
local communities and act based on what they find.”
Funds from the Illinois 4-H Foundation through a donation by Evelyn Brandt
Thomas help support the 4-H Feeding and Growing Our Communities program.
One may join the fight against hunger here by contacting 4-H at 217-732-8289
Logan County; 217-782-4617 Sangamon County; 217-632-7491 Menard County.
About 4-H: Illinois 4-H helps youth learn skills for living. University
of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois.
Illinois 4-H impacts the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained
learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.
Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development
University of Illinois Extension – Logan, Menard, Sangamon Counties]