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The Face of Hunger

My name is Julie Yurko. I am a mom of four children, and I work at the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Being a mother, I know how important good, nutritious food is for a family.

Food is a basic need, and food insecurity never stands alone. It is often tied to issues of employment, housing insecurity, or an educational setback or lack of transportation that hinder employability. Many families across the U.S. experience the strain of limited incomes and stretch dollars. In fact, 77 percent of the families we serve at the Northern Illinois Food Bank are working, but aren’t able to make ends meet.

I’d like to tell you about a woman named Beth*. Beth is a mom with children ranging from ages 2 to 18. I met her at one of our food pantries. We chatted about raising our kids and the pleasant summer we’ve been having. Beth was a working mom who owned her home, owned her car, and had a good job. A few months back while working at her job in a technology office, she found that she was having a hard time seeing her computer screen. On getting checked out, the doctors found that brain tumors were obstructing Beth’s vision. She ended up having surgery and the tumors were successfully removed. However, Beth is no longer able to work. So now, her 18-year-old son has decided to take a break from school in order to support the family. Given his limited earning ability, the family is struggling. Beth now comes to the food pantry to get the groceries she needs to nourish and support her family.

Beth is the face of hunger that I want you to think about.

I think many of us would be surprised to know that food insecurity exists in every single county across the United States. It breaks my heart to know that moms across the country are sacrificing their dinners so that their children can eat, and that families on stretched incomes have to make difficult decisions between buying food and paying utility bills. At the Northern Illinois Food Bank, we have the privilege and blessing of serving 71,500 individuals every week and making sure they have the food they need. I encourage you to donate to Feeding America, which supports a vast network of food banks across the country and provides meals for over 42 million Americans each year.

As the Northern Illinois Food Bank grows and continues to serve our neighbors in need, we rely on partners like Kellogg and Feeding America to help us expand our reach. Earlier this year, Kellogg Company Specialty Channels contributed to the largest volunteer shift in the history of the food bank, and also contributed a generous $10,000 to support our work. To commemorate World Food Day, our partners at Kellogg and Feeding America have joined up to make donating even easier. Visit to support our partners in hunger relief. By working together, we can work to fight hunger and provide families in hardship with the resources they need to survive and thrive.

With gratitude,
Julie Yurko
President and CEO, Northern Illinois Food Bank

*Name changed for privacy



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