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Local food stamp outreach project funding is eliminated          Send a link to a friend

[FEB. 17, 2006]  The Central Illinois Economic Development Corp. expressed disappointment and concern Feb. 8 about the recent decision by Congress to eliminate funding for the Community Food and Nutrition Program in fiscal 2006. The program, which is the only designated source of federal resources that can be used for anti-hunger outreach and advocacy, is used by Central Illinois Economic Development Corp. and community-based organizations throughout the nation to help ensure that children and families have access to adequate food.

CIEDC has used the program since 2005 to fund a food stamp outreach project. To date this project has, without duplication, connected over 5,200 hungry individuals with food. As a consequence of the congressional decision to eliminate funding for the Community Food and Nutrition Program, the Central Illinois Economic Development Corp. will no longer be able to work with the community's low-income families to facilitate their participation in the food stamp program.

Angela Stoltzenburg, CIEDC's executive director, said, "When the number of children living in poverty is increasing in America and Illinois, we had hoped there would be an increase in funding, not an elimination of funding." Poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau points to an increase in child poverty to 17.8 million in 2004, up from 16.7 million in 2002.

Kathy Shepherd, coordinator of the food stamp outreach project for CIEDC, said, "We are disappointed that the fiscal year 2006 budget fails to provide an investment in increasing the accessibility of federal child nutrition programs."

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"The ability to obtain enough food for an active, healthy life is the most basic of human needs," Stoltzenburg continued. "Households that lack sufficient resources to provide food cannot achieve this fundamental element of well-being."

The Community Food and Nutrition Program is coordinated at the state level by the Illinois Community Action Association. The association's food security specialist, Holly Copeland, said, "Oftentimes, the mere presence of the food stamp program does not ensure that those eligible are participating or even aware of its existence. The CFNP resources helped to bridge that gap between nonparticipating eligible families and the food stamp program."

[Central Illinois Economic Development Corp. news release]


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