The 2nd Annual Southern Illinois Food Insecurity Summit was held in Marion, Illinois.

Marion, IL (KFVS) – Tackling food insecurity is a team game. Therefore, several different organizations are working together to get food to those in need.

The Southern Illinois Food Insecurity Summit was held today at Marion’s Pavilion.

About 150 people from inside and outside the prefecture participated.

“With a food insecurity rate of about 15 percent in our area, friends, family and neighbors struggle to get enough food,” says Toni Kay, Extension Educator in Extension, Illinois. Wright said.

According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap, it’s estimated that 45,000 people are food insecure in southern Illinois alone.

So Toni Kay Wright and others are looking for creative solutions for starving communities.

“People here are aware that food access and food insecurity are issues in our community. I want to leave,” Kay Wright said.

One of the organizations that attended was Arrowleaf. They’ve recently opened food pantries in Cairo and Vienna to try a different approach.

“We don’t ask questions, we ask their name, the county they live in, how many family members they have. You can shop like you would at any grocery store and get what your family and kids need,” said Marsha Hayes, Community Engagement Coordinator at Arrowleaf.

The Cairo store is open five days a week, and the Vienna store three days a week, Hayes said.Both venues from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hayes says people who come into the pantry are very grateful to have it opened.

“They appreciate us having a pantry there, especially for being a client’s choice. , here you can actually choose what to eat, what the kids like, and it’s all about nutrition.

The Arrowleaf Pantry is funded by donations. You can reach out to them if you want to help them. See here for details.

Kay Wright says pantries are working to provide healthier food.

“We want to provide nutritious food so people can live their best lives,” said Kay Wright.

September is Hunger Awareness Month. Leaders of the Southern Illinois Food Security Summit have also said they will hold their third annual meeting next September.

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