December 8, 2022

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Where Is Your Cooking

Healthier food options become more accessible for Illinois

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Gov. JB Pritzker announced the Healthy Foods Access Program will provide equitable availability to healthy food options.

House Bill 2382 allows the Department of Human Service (DHS) in partnership with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), to establish the Healthy Food Development Program. This will expand the access to healthy foods in underserved areas.

Residents on the South and West sides of Chicago continue to struggle to find places to buy healthy and affordable food. The bill is expected to help strengthen small businesses and create new options for healthy food in vulnerable communities. This will not only bring food to those in need but also jobs. Grocery stores, corner stores, farmers’ markets and other small retailers may receive assistance through grants, loans, equipment or other financial assistance to be awarded on a competitive basis.

Especially during the pandemic, food security has been a weight that Illinoisans have carried. According to the Pritzker administration, there has been a 60% increase in food security for older adults during the pandemic.

Pritzker says individuals are malnourished and unhealthy in what seemed to feel like a food desert. Some do not know where the next meal is coming from. He’s signed this legislation to end that concern.

The program has not yet been designed. However, DCEO and DHS plan to partner with non-profit organizations on implementation.

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