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One in five Illinois children under the age of 18 face hunger daily. Illinois ranks 26th in the nation when it comes to the number of children facing food insecurity. An estimated 745,300 children are living in food-insecure homes. This represents 23% of Illinois youth under the age of 18. 4-H members, families, clubs and communities are responding to the need through community gardens, meal packaging events and meals for the hungry.

Illinois 4-H is empowering youth to end hunger in their communities. With funding support from Evelyn Brandt Thomas and the Illinois 4-H Foundation, Illinois 4-H is expanding its efforts across the state. 4-H members plant community gardens, stock food pantries, prepare community meals, provide weekend backpack meals, and promote farmers markets. We want 4-H members, volunteers, families and whole communities to be part of the solution for alleviating hunger where you live.

Here are some ways you, your 4-H club, classroom and community can help:

  • Plant a 4-H community garden: members grow fresh vegetables to be given to local food pantries, soup kitchens, or shelters serving individuals in need.
  • Plant a Row for the Hungry: Plant extra rows of vegetable in your own garden and donate the extra produce to local food pantries, churches, and other organizations.
  • Spread the Word: Ask your neighbors and friends to Plant a Row for the Hungry and help them get their extra vegetables to the local food pantries.
  • Collect canned food: Sponsor a local canned food drive which supports a local food pantry.
  • Become a 4-H Teen Hunger Ambassadors: Dive in deeper and learn about hunger in your community; then work together to develop a plan to address hunger in your community.
  • Organize a food packaging event: Volunteers assemble pre-packaged meals to be distributed through food pantries within their county and raise funds for the cost of the supplies.
  • Increase hunger awareness: Sponsor a hunger meal to demonstrate what meals look like at homes where food is scare.
  • Feed the kids during summer: Partner with local organizations to provide a summer lunch program to feed kids when they aren’t in school.

Communities are encouraged to join 4-H in bettering their community…can we count on you? Grants are available to 4-H Clubs to help fight hunger in your community. Apply online.

Nearing 900,000 meals to feed the hungry 

By the end of 2017, Illinois 4-H volunteers and members will have packaged more than 900,000 meals since August 2013. All meals packaged stay in the communities in which they are packaged.

Our list from 2017

  • January 23, 2017 | 15,486 meals | 116 volunteers | Coles, Cumberland, Moultrie/Douglas, Shelby Counties
  • March 6, 2017 | 10,182 meals | 45 volunteers | Logan, Menard, Sangamon Counties
  • April 1, 2017 | 13,638 meals | 63 volunteers | Hamilton, Hardin, Gallatin, Pope, Saline, White Counties
  • April 5, 2017 | 10,056 meals | 95 volunteers | Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Morgan, Scott Counties
  • April 8, 2017 | 12,144 meals | 115 volunteers | Clinton, Bond, Marion, Jefferson, Washington Counties
  • June 19, 2017 | 10,608 meals | 173 volunteers | Macon County
  • August 26, 2017 | 10,662 meals | 105 volunteers | Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike, Schuyler Counties
  • September 24, 2017 | 41,600 meals | 255 volunteers | Rock Island County
  • September 30, 2017 | 10,000 meals | 65 volunteers | Christian, Jersey, Macouplin, Montgomery Counties
  • September 30, 2017 | 21,673 meals | 134 volunteers | McLeans, Livingston, Woodford Counties
  • October 21, 2017 | 11,080 meals | 55 volunteers | Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper Counties
  • October 28, 2017 | 11,664 meals | 75 volunteers | Hamilton, Hardin, Gallatin, Pope, Saline, White Counties
  • November 4, 2017 | 101,200 meals | 500 volunteers | Alexander, Johnson, Massace, Pulaski, Union Counties
  • November 11, 2017 in Pinckneyville
  • December 9, 2017 in Warren & Henderson Counties