Food Pantry with volunteer

With a mission to support, connect, and provide resources to those working within the emergency food system, University of Illinois Extension Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit SNAP-Education and the Tazewell County Health Department partnered to launch Food Pantry Network-HOI in March 2019. Since then, the network of food banks, food pantries, and local organizations has come together to focus efforts and to support one another as they work to alleviate hunger and build a healthier community.

Profile picture of Skye Mibbs

In 2019, Skye became an Illinois Extension SNAP-Ed instructor focused in Mason County.

“I really enjoy teaching the young kids, but it doesn’t matter what age you are, nutrition is important to learn and there is always new information. I aim to educate people to help them increase their knowledge of nutrition and exercise. ”

EDUCATION

  • Illinois College, Bachelor’s degree in biology with focus in exercise science

EXTENSION SNAP-ED FOCUS AREAS

People approaching food tent

Change brings new problems and new opportunities for society. Several University of Illinois Extension educators serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties have joined a team of city leaders, agencies, and organizations to address the serious need of the lack of adequate access to fresh foods for residents in Peoria’s South Side. The “Local Foods, Local Places: Revitalizing Communities by Growing Local Food Economies” initiative is a great example of how difficult challenges can bring about positive outcomes.

Picture of SNAP Education Instructor Kathy Ellis with a child

Kathy Ellis

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education Instructor

keellis@illinois.edu

“I teach young children in preschool, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades about healthy eating and taking care of themselves. Some of my classes are underserved audiences such as Hispanic, hearing impaired, and special needs. I love working with all of the students and seeing them try new healthy foods.”

SNAP-Ed staff member with display booth with resources on healthy eating

With a priority of focusing on food as medicine, University of Illinois Extension staff teamed up with two partners to provide Heartland Health Services pediatric families a bundle of fresh produce in conjunction with nutrition education and resources as part of a 10 week pilot project. Extension staff involved are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Ed) effort serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. The two partners were University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP) and Peoria Area Food Bank.