Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County awards $4,000 in grants to Pike County food pantries

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PIKE COUNTY, Ill. — The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County recently awarded a $2,000 grant to both the Two Rivers Regional Council REACHOUT Food Pantry in Pittsfield and the Barry Food Pantry in Barry.

Funds are intended to assist the two organizations with the purchase of food and personal supplies that benefit the many families and individuals who utilize their food pantries. Both organizations are open and free to the public regardless of the community the recipient lives in.

In a press release, foundation executive director Patricia McIntosh said, “The foundation knows how vital these two organizations are to the well-being of so many families and individuals in Pike County who rely on them. We remain committed to helping them continue to have the positive impact they have on the well-being of so many throughout the county.”

McIntosh said food insecurity remains an issue in Pike County. The county’s food insecurity rate of 10.3 percent equates to 1,530 individuals not always having access to sufficient food or food of adequate quality to meet their basic needs, which has resulted in increased food pantry utilization.

“We are dedicated to improving the health and welfare of Pike County,” she said. “Ensuring access to ample food resources is fundamental to our mission.”

Food insecurity is associated with numerous adverse social and health outcomes and is increasingly considered a critical public health issue. Key drivers of food insecurity include unemployment and poverty, among others, which can prevent adequate access to food.

Kathry Young, president of the Barry Food Pantry Board, said, “The Barry Food Pantry is very happy to receive a grant from the Health and Wellness Foundation. This grant will help us feed the citizens of Pike County nutritious food and to help us purchase some personal items to be given out.”

According to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, hunger is a problem in every part of the United States. However, it is more common in rural areas. Rural areas comprise less than two-thirds of all U.S. counties, but nine out of 10 counties with the highest food insecurity rate are rural.

There are many reasons why hunger is more common in rural areas, such as:

  • Lack of transportation: People in rural areas often live far away from grocery stores and food pantries, which can make it difficult to get food, especially without a car or public transit;
  • Low wages and underemployment: Jobs in rural areas often pay low wages and don’t offer full-time hours, which can make it difficult to afford food, even if a person works multiple jobs.

The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County has made more than $1.5 million in grant awards since its inception more than 20 years ago to initiatives that impact Pike County’s most pressing physical, emotional and social health needs.

Foundation funding decisions are made by a board of directors, which consists of Judge Michael Roseberry, chairman; J. Michael Kinscherff, vice chairman; Darla Lemons, secretary/treasurer; and directors Michelle Westbrook, Andrea Allen and Pike County Deputy Zachary Orr.

The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County is recognized as a 501(c)(3) public charity, solely serving the health and wellness needs of Pike County, Illinois. Donations to HWFPC are fully tax deductible as allowable by law. To find out more information about HWFPC’s other grant programs, health scholarships, community collaborations or how you can make a donation, visit the foundation’s website at www.hwfpc.org or call the foundation office at 217-285-6080.

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