Eastern Illinois Foodbank Statement on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Eastern Illinois Foodbank believes food is a fundamental right and physiological need for every human being. Without access to adequate nutrition, a person cannot achieve their individual potential and our communities will not thrive. We believe every child, adult, and senior, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation deserves food that is nutritious and relevant to their cultural preferences.
We are motivated by the vision to alleviate hunger in eastern Illinois and have been since 1983. Our growing network of staff, volunteers, partner agencies, community donors, and board members must be fiercely committed to alleviating hunger. Distributing food is not enough. We must confront the root causes of food insecurity.
We recognize hunger is not a standalone social issue, rather one perpetuated by systemic injustices such as racism, classism, and sexism. These imbalances of power contribute to a disproportionate food insecurity rate among people of color, low income households, women, and children. We see this evidence across the United States and throughout the 18 counties served by EIF:
- In Vermilion County, the county with the highest rate of food insecurity, 49% Black, 25% Native, and 22% Latino residents live below the poverty line compared to 15% of White residents.
- In Iroquois County, the county with the highest rate of racial inequity, 54% Black, 40% Latino, and 13% Native residents live below the poverty line compared to 12% White residents.
- In Champaign County, the county with the greatest number of nutrition assistance providers, 33% Black, 28% Latino, and 25% Native residents live below the poverty line compared to 15% White residents.
In light of these realities and the persistent trials of 2020, including a global pandemic, economic crisis, and racial injustices, Eastern Illinois Foodbank senses an urgent need to review our organizational practices. Following the retirement of President & CEO Jim Hires, the new year further ushers EIF into a season of change as we anticipate/prepare for the arrival of a new CEO. At this time, our mission, values and strategic plan will be reviewed and updated. Our Board of Directors and Staff are committed to change. These organizational commitments shape EIF’s efforts to alleviate hunger and must align with the growing needs of marginalized people in our community. We seek to move forward with transparency, humility, and empathy. To truly end hunger, we must look at ending practices that continually widen gaps in community access while also building a more just food system. Will you join us?