Food insecurity down from 2015, but still at historic highs

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The number of families dealing with the hunger in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa is going down, but area food banks still have a big battle ahead.

The numbers released Thursday by the River Bend Foodbank show that food insecurity is still at historic highs, but they're making major progress in getting people access to food.

The yearly Map the Meal Gap data was shared for the first time at their Agency Conference in Moline. Compared to last year, the food insecurity rate dropped from 12.9% to 12.3% of the total population in the 22 counties the food bank covers.

They're celebrating the drop, but not the number of people still going without food.

According to the study, 125,222 people are still food insecure, and that includes 46,070 children. Sharing this information with all their volunteers from local food banks who see this issue first hand is a great moment, used as a rallying cry for the effort still to come.

"In this day and age, you see lots of folks who don't necessarily have the attitude about helping folks. To come together in a room with over 250 people who are not paid, they're just working together to help people, it's very motivating," River Bend Foodbank Executive Director Mike Miller said.

Miller's big push now is to keep working at bringing the total number of people without food down in two ways-- by not throwing away food that could be eaten by someone else, and by donating that food to a local food pantry.

If you would like to see more information about the areas hit hardest by food insecurity and how you can help, visit the River Bend Foodbank website.