Illinois Commission to End Hunger 2021 Year in Review

The Illinois Commission to End Hunger is a public-private partnership established for the purpose of developing an action plan to ensure cross-collaboration among government entities and community partners toward the shared goal of ending hunger in Illinois. Earlier this year, the Commission released the report From Food Insecurity to Food Equity: A Roadmap to End Hunger in Illinois, which sets out a three-part strategy for doing a better job of connecting food insecure people to federal nutrition programs. The Roadmap makes specific recommendations for leveraging technology; harnessing innovation; and strengthening collaboration.

Since the release of the Roadmap, the Commission has convened working groups to help advance the vision laid out in the report. The Commission and its working groups have made significant strides to take the Roadmap recommendations and make this vision a reality.

Leveraging Technology

  • The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will begin using text and email to communicate with clients, creating greater reach to participants and increasing the likelihood of participants meeting important deadlines to maintain enrollment in nutrition benefits.
  • The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) received funding to create a statewide online school meals application, which will streamline the application process ensuring easier application and processing for families and administrators.
  • IDHS has taken first steps toward making the SNAP application and case management website mobile friendly. A mobile phone friendly application will expand access to those that may not have a personal computer or Wi-Fi.
  • IDHS secured changes to its case management system to allow clients to securely upload supporting documents online.

Harnessing Innovation

  • IDHS received approval from USDA to enact the Elderly Simplified Redetermination Process, which will simplify the SNAP redetermination process and extend the recertification period for older adults.
  • IDHS welcomed an additional 6 retailers to the SNAP online program, which allows SNAP participants to use their benefits to buy groceries online. With the addition of 6 new retailers, a combined 83 stores across Illinois will operate the expanded online grocery option for SNAP participants.

Strengthening Collaboration

  • The Commission secured funding to roll out a statewide marketing campaign, with a focus on increasing awareness and decreasing stigma around nutrition assistance programs.

With greater awareness of food insecurity and underlying racial inequity, a clear roadmap for action, and a coalition ready to lead, Illinois has a unique moment to take the kind of bold action needed to end hunger in our state. We are eager to continue this work in the new year, taking even greater strides towards lessening the impact of hunger across Illinois.