Dire Need of Food in Macon County


Nearly 1-in-4 people are now living in poverty in the United States. That is according to the annual Kids Count survey.

The numbers in Central Illinois have grown since 1999. Vermilion County tops the list with 35% of children living in poverty in 2011. In Champaign and Sangamon Counties, the numbers sit around 23%. Also, Macon County has 24.8%.

Some food banks in Macon County are facing an increasing number of visitors each week.

Jerry Pelz, the Director of Northeast Community Fund in Decatur said, "a lot of the people that we are seeing are people that we have never serviced before."

Pelz has seen the need grow in the past 44 years.

"We've been doing somewhere over 1,600 families a month up to over 1,900," Pelz added. "Even 5,6 years ago we were doing 500 families now we're doing 4 times that number."

Go to the Salvation Army in Decatur, you will hear a similar story.

Captain Wesley Dalberg told WAND, "families of all sizes are coming to us and that's on a weekly basis, so in a month we are seeing almost a 1,000 or more."

There are many reasons that get people to this place. One reason is the economy.

"As the month goes on they have less money. They run out of money before they run out of months, so toward the end of the month we see a greater influx of people because of that."

However, life gets better and people start turning trials into testimonies.

"We hear good stories of people coming back who have made it and said you helped me three years ago and now I'm self sufficient," Pelz added.

Northeast Community Fund distribution times are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9-11-30 a.m. and 12-30-2 p.m. You can only go once every 30 days.

At the Salvation Army, people with need can stop by Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Please call them before you go. They will require you to bring certain forms of identification.

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