b"L E T T E R T O O U R F O O D B A N K F A M I L YDear Friends,Our work has never been more important or criticalthan it is now. Feeding America estimates that COVID-19The past year has been unlike has increased food insecurity in our 13-county serviceanything we've seen in the Food area by a staggering 62 percent, and has nearly doubledBanks 37 years, and it has the child food insecurity rateresulting in 1 in 6 childrenaffected all of us in so many facing hunger.ways. Although it was aThese estimates are fueling our drive to increase ouryear of growth and providing more meals to our neighbors meal distribution, and were proud to have increasedthan ever before80.3 million, to be exactit was also a mobile pantry distributions and added Pop-Up Markets toyear during which so many families faced hunger for the help meet the need. Each month, we are holding nearly 90very first time. mobile pantries and pop-ups, and distributing more than 9If we ever doubted the presence of hunger in Northern million meals through our network and programs. We areIllinois, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown there is still a committed to continue this increased rate of distributiongreat deal of work to be done to ensure our neighbors have throughout 2021.access to the nutritious groceries they need to weatherWe invested in our remarkable network memberslifes many curveballs.by providing $1.7 million in funding and support since the And yet, in a year when our everyday lives were onset of the pandemic.Our network of feeding programsupended, we witnessed so much hope: has leaned in with compassion and strength to meet the We saw our community unite for one another. needs of their communities now and for the months ahead.Watching the care, compassion, and dedication to reachingThese unprecedented times will be our reality for theevery neighbor has been inspiring. Volunteers showed up foreseeable future, and we promise to work tirelessly,to serve, wanting to make a difference. every day to help our families stay afloat as they recoverIndividuals invested more generously than we have from the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. seen, including donating their stimulus checks.Our morePlease know that your support of our work is morethan 900 amazing network partners changed their food appreciated and important than ever.distributions overnight to safely accommodate the growingWe witness miracles every day that happen becauseneed. We were blown away by the generosity of our 450 our community is so strong, compassionate, courageous,food manufacturer and retail partners who donated so resilient and kind. Thank you from the bottom of our heartsmuch food to help our neighbors in the midst of a severely for being part of our Food Bank family. We are trulydisrupted global food supply chain. No matter what you grateful. And we are all in this together.had to offer, you supported one another in ways we'venever seen before.We saw the resilience of the human spirit. 30-50 Sincerely,percent of neighbors who have visited our network sincelast March have found themselves in need for the very firsttime.Families unsure of where to turn or what to expectstepped out in courage, learned they are not alone, andthat were here to help. While it would be easy to besaddened by a year like this, you chose to join us in Julie Yurko Dirk Locasciomaking a difference for one another. That is resilience.President & CEOBoard Chair FY20WWW.SOLVEHUNGERTODAY.ORG 1"