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News of the Township
Community Leaders Discuss Food Insecurity
in Highland Park and Highwood

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2014
Contact: Anne Flanigan Bassi, Township Supervisor, 847-432-3240

Community Leaders Discuss Food Insecurity in Highland Park and Highwood

Moraine Township brought community leaders together last week to address food insecurity in our community. A presentation by Amy Terpstra, Director of Research for Heartland Alliance, highlighted the shift of poverty to the suburbs in recent years, with a focus on the Highland Park/Highwood community.

"Poor residents comprise 5.7% of Highland Park's population, up from 3.8% in 2000, and 13.1% of Highwood residents, up from 7% in 2000," commented Ms. Terpstra. She also noted that "in Lake County, 81% of SNAP (aka Food Stamp) recipients have at least one working member of the household, and 18% of kids are food insecure."

Attendees included Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Councilwoman Kim Stone, area clergy members, and representatives from schools, social service and philanthropic agencies, Northern Illinois Food Bank, St. James Food Pantry, and Moraine Township elected officials and staff.

Community leaders who work with residents struggling through difficult times discussed areas where gaps in service may be occurring. "Insights from the discussion will be used to develop ideas for action steps for a community-wide meeting to engage our residents in addressing food insecurity among our neighbors," said Township Supervisor Anne Flanigan Bassi.

Alesia Margetis, Counseling Department Chair at Highland Park High School, commented on the increase in stress for low-income students during school vacations when they are not receiving lunch at school.

Numbers of students from low-income families in Highland Park and Highwood have risen steadily for over a decade. Trustee Amy Zisook and Clerk Gail Feiger Brown have spearheaded an effort to work with the schools to facilitate breakfast, snack and backpack programs, connecting community members and organizations with schools. "It's a challenge for our students to learn when they're hungry," commented Trustee Zisook.

Outreach to find families in need and let them know about available resources is a continuing goal. "We have an avenue to identify families with school age children in need of help," noted Clerk Brown, "but there are seniors and residents without school-age children who may not know there is help available."

Moraine Township provides a Food Pantry to income-qualified Moraine Township residents offering produce, meat, eggs, cheese and shelf-stable food; 486 Township residents were served during October. The pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until noon and from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. Residents who may not be able to visit the Food Pantry during those times are encouraged to call 847-432-3240 to make arrangements for other times.

For further information call Moraine Township 847-432-3240 or email super@morainetownship.org.

Moraine Township's website is www.morainetownship.org.

 

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