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Connecting Hunger and Health at Illinois Food Pantry Conference

One in ten people in Illinois struggle with food insecurity daily, according to Feeding America. Making the healthy food choice is not always easy when money is tight. Food pantries and agencies that address food insecurity are invited to attend the Hunger and Health Illinois Conference. The conference’s mission is to increase awareness, facilitate dialogue, and provide resources to improve health through nutritious food choices.  

University of Illinois Extension and SNAP-Education staff are organizing the first Hunger and Health Conference, intended to bring people together to address these issues. The conference is planned for March 9, 2022, at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, IL, conferences 10:00-3:30 pm.   An optional pre-conference food handler’s training will take place from 8:00-10:00.  The cost for the event is $10 per person which covers materials and lunch.  Fee waivers are available.

Carol Erickson is an Extension SNAP Educator in Rockford and has been involved in the planning of the conference. According to Erickson “many food pantry guests who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and diet-related diseases depend on their local pantry to supplement their diet. Providing healthy food options to their guests conveys the message that they care about their guests’ wellbeing.” She continues “the goal of this conference is to affirm the connection between health and food and provide resources to address them.”

Participants will be able to attend two breakout sessions.  The topics include community collaboration, nutrition policy, trauma-informed approach to food dignity, and connecting to local produce. The conference will conclude with awards given to food pantry champions around Illinois.

To register for the 2022 Hunger and Health Illinois Conference, go to

Reasonable accommodations will be provided for participants who make requests when registering.

The Illinois Hunger and Health Conference is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension with funds from USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. 

Carol Erickson is a University of Illinois Extension, SNAP-Ed Educator in Jo-Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago County.