Unemployment Numbers Down, But Food Pantry Numbers Are Up

- ROCKFORD, IL--Many cans will help feed many hungry mouths--mouths state line food pantries say are growing by the day.

While local unemployment rates are way down, the number of people visiting food pantries is up.

Kim Adams-Bakke is the executive director of the Rock River Valley Food Pantry, and she said, “at the end of our last fiscal year, we had 84 thousand user visits, which was an increase of eight percent from the previous year, so we are still seeing people who are going hungry."

"It’s very bothersome,” said Northern Illinois Food Bank volunteer, Steve Tamborello.

Tamborello has been volunteering at the Northern Illinois Food Bank for three years, and he knows the need for food in Rockford is there.

“If there's kids out there going hungry, especially during the holidays, and if there's something we can do about it, that's all the more reason to be here,” said Tamborello.

Adding to the increase in numbers, is the fact that even many who have jobs still need some help.

Todd Reuber, center manager at Northern Illinois Food Bank in Rockford, said, “The job they may have, where they're use to working a full time job 40 hours a week, they may [have a] job that is now only providing them 20 hours a week, at maybe a rate that's less then they're use to making.”

Adams-Bakke says the Rock River Valley Food Pantry sees more than seven thousand people a month.

She says the winter can be especially tough on families in the area.

"This is a tough time because number one utilities are starting to kick in as far as gas or electric, and the rates are going up, the pay for people to keep there homes warm,” said Adams-Bakke.

For more information on the Northern Illinois Food Bank, visit http://solvehungertoday.org/
For more information on the Rock River Valley Food Pantry, visit http://www.rrvp.org/

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