In the heart of Winnebago County, Illinois, a resounding call to action echoes through the corridors of the Rockford Housing Authority. Here, the solemn words of Wally Haas, a guiding light as the executive director of Transform Rockford and a dedicated member of the Mayor’s Hunger Campaign committee, hold profound significance. His words serve as a poignant reminder of the stark reality that hunger is not a distant concept but a tangible and pressing concern within our community.
Within the tapestry of Winnebago County’s population of 295,266 souls, a narrative of challenge and hope unfolds. In the shadows, 105,385 individuals grapple with the weight of limited resources, defining them as part of the low-income demographic. Among them, 21,278 resilient spirits find themselves further burdened by the lack of accessible sustenance—20.2% of the low-income population, to be exact.
Guided by the robust research from the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, we hear stories of hunger’s undeniable presence in our midst. The statistics, painstakingly assembled and held high as a beacon of truth, compel us to confront the distressing reality. They spotlight the vulnerable souls among us, and they galvanize us to action.
In the heart of the endeavor lies a two-fold mission that speaks to the very essence of our purpose: advocacy and education. Like a symphony, these principles harmonize to empower our community. Advocacy is our voice, rising against the tide of hunger as we rally for policies that pave the way to brighter days. Education is our torchbearer, illuminating the paths of understanding and compassion. It guides the public and decision-makers alike, illuminating the urgency and scope of the issue at hand.
Yet, at the core of our mission lies the lifeline we offer—a tapestry of resources woven with care and compassion. Our embrace encompasses food assistance programs, shelters, and the tireless efforts of community food banks. We extend our hand to lift those who seek solace within our walls, embodying the belief that no one should face the ache of an empty stomach alone.
Noble in purpose, we gather within the shelter of the Mayor’s Hunger Campaign committee—a collective embodiment of the transformative power of unity. Here, we bridge the gaps, connecting local government, tireless nonprofits, resilient community organizations, and compassionate individuals. Together, we mold a resilient front against hunger’s grasp.
Through the lens of the Rockford Housing Authority, the story of hunger is not one of defeat but of resilience, of solidarity and unwavering determination. In the backdrop of these narratives lies the hallowed ground where compassion meets action, where advocacy and education lead the charge, and where resources are the threads that mend the tapestry of hunger’s grip.
Data, Winnebago County, Illinois Total Population – 295,266
Low Income Population -105,385
Low Income Population with Low Food Access – 21,278
Percent Low Income Population with Low Food Access-20.2%
Source: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, USDA – Food Access Research Atlas,. Published by Community Commons. (see link on next page to use)
LINKS: To contribute to the fundraiser and support the Greater Rockford Pantry Coalition’s vital work, please consider donating today at https://www.greaterrockfordpantrycoalition.com/donate