The Central Illinois Food bank stocks the shelves of many local pantries here in the area, including Quanada, Madonna House, and the Salvation Army.
In order to learn how it can better help out, the Central Illinois Food Bank is conducting a survey to find out more about the folks who rely on it.
So Kaleigh Friend with the Central Illinois Food Bank says it's pleading for volunteers to help it figure out what the face of hunger is.
"We're going to have some trainings going on," said Friend. "Each person who participates has to be trained. And it's just doing things like helping set up the tablets for the study, fielding questions, we need a head counter for the people as they come in the door. Things like that."
If that sounds like something you might be interested in helping with, or if you want to help local food pantries, but can't afford to give financially or donate food, Friend says you can help fight hunger by helping collect this information to find out just what the face of hunger is and what the need is right here at home.
QUANADA's executive director Megan Duesterhaus says it's seeing folks needing help from all walks of life come through its doors seeking help.
"People have a stereotypical image of what people that would access a food pantry might look like or be like or what they do and once you actually get down here and actually see the people that are coming in for the food you start to realize that your stereotypes are often so far off base," said Duesterhaus.
People getting help from QUANADA are the elderly, people on limited incomes, raising grandchildren on their own, single mothers banding together, living together kind of teaming up to rotate between work and child care.
It also sees families with jobs where one or both wage-earners are under-employed, and people working full-time who just don't make enough to put food on the table.
QUANADA says it wants to remind people that these faces of hunger are hungry year-round and - as we enter into the spring and summer seasons - Duesterhaus says oftentimes the pantry shelves tend to run emptier than usual.
"It's studies like these that really show this is what hunger is," said Friend. "These are the people that are dealing with it and then how can we address that and make sure it's not such a problem."
To volunteer, contact the Central Illinois Food Bank.
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