From WILL - The Public Square -

Lisa Bralts The 2006 Food For Families Drive

My name is Lisa Bralts, and I'm the Marketing Director of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

Operating out of Urbana, Illinois since 1983, the Eastern Illinois Foodbank currently works with over 180 agencies and programs in its 14-county service area to serve food-insecure individuals and households - people whose ability to adequately feed themselves and/or their families has been compromised by insufficient financial or other resources.

It's important to remember that the stereotypes we carry with us regarding hunger in this country and in our area - that people who are hungry are homeless, unemployed, or somehow responsible for their plight - are just that: stereotypes. 38% of the people served through our agencies and programs are employed. 40% of the members of households served by the Foodbank's agencies and programs are children. Many individuals and households report having to choose between paying rent or mortgage, paying for medicine, or paying for fuel and power - and paying for food. These are our friends, neighbors, classmates, or relatives.

Throughout the year, the Foodbank, with its agencies and programs, serves over 31,000 people per month. Last year, the Foodbank distributed 5 million pounds - 2,500 tons of food - throughout its 14-county service area, continuing to advance against a need of nearly 10,000 tons, or twenty million pounds.

This fall marks the Eastern Illinois Foodbank's 20th Annual Food For Families Drive. Beginning in 1986, our communities have provided food and raised money each fall for Food For Families. The financial donations are crucial: the Foodbank can acquire ten dollars' worth of food for every dollar donated. The food collected during this drive goes directly to programs that serve individuals and households in need in our area. This is often food we cannot procure on the donated market, like canned meats and fish, boxed meals, canned soups and meals, canned fruits and vegetables, and other non-perishable items. Local grocery stores, schools, businesses, and places of worship conduct their own food drives each fall for Food For Families - please contact the Foodbank at 328-3663 or check our website at www.eifoodbank.org for more information.

The 2006 Food For Families Drive will kick off at Urbana's Market at the Square on Saturday, October 28 from 9 AM until noon. This food and fund drive continues throughout the community through Saturday, November 11. The goal for this year's event is to raise $60,000 in funds and to collect 185,000 pounds of food - plan on joining us on the 28th, non-perishable goods in hand, and help the Foodbank mark twenty years of alleviating hunger and nourishing stronger communities.