ComEd Employees Rally to Fight Food Insecurity in IllinoisSeptember 23, 2022
ComEd has a long history of giving back to the communities we serve, whether that be through extensive scholarships and participation and financial support to many causes and organizations throughout Illinois. This year, ComEd employees chose a specific cause to rally behind for its inaugural Cause of the Year Campaign, and selected food insecurity. Employees have identified and participated in giving opportunities throughout the year, and in honor of September being National Hunger Action Month, are furthering their commitment to end food insecurity in our communities.
“Last November, ComEd employees had the opportunity to select a cause for the company to focus its philanthropic efforts on in 2022. We are continually impressed by our employees’ commitment to caring for the communities we serve and were pleased to see our employees select food insecurity for the 2022 year—an issue that impacts our neighbors throughout the region.” – Evelyn Rodriguez Estrada, Director of Corporate Relations at ComEd.
Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy lifestyle.
Being hungry and being food insecure are related, but different. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at a household level. It’s important to note that food insecurity could temporarily impact a household, but it can also last a long time.
Food insecurity affects an estimated 1 in 8 Americans, many of whom are also impacted by systemic poverty and racial inequality—which makes this issue so difficult to solve. In Illinois, an estimated 11% of the state’s population, or 1.4 million people, live in poverty, and many of our neighbors rely on the support of food banks and other charitable organizations to support their family’s food needs.
This year, ComEd is proud to join the Greater Food Depository of Chicago (GCFD) and the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) to help mitigate the impacts of food insecurity in northern Illinois. These two organizations collectively serve hundreds of thousands of individuals, and their dedicated staffs and networks of food banks help families in our communities navigate their individual food insecurity journeys in a dignified way.
The ComEd team has been helping this noble effort all year. During National Volunteer Month in April, ComEd employees participated in 30 volunteer events focused on food insecurity. Earlier this month, ComEd employees, including CEO Gil Quiniones, Cause of the Year Executive Sponsors Glenn Rippie, Senior Counsel, and Jaclyn Trovato Wickersham, VP of HR Operations, and other company volunteers volunteered at both locations and saw the work and impact these organizations have on our neighbors. GCFD and NIFB support hundreds of food pantries throughout northern Illinois at a community-level.
One of those food pantries is Breakthrough, located in the Chicago neighborhood of East Garfield Park, which provides additional services that include afterschool programs, housing solutions and wellness care. Most of East Garfield Park is a food desert, meaning that the area has limited access to affordable and nutritious food. Breakthrough is further helping its community by operating the Breakthrough Fresh Market, a free grocery store for community members.
Food insecurity is devastating to our communities, but through the efforts of large organizations like GCFD and NIFB and community-based efforts like Breakthrough, we are working to improve the lives of those impacted.
How can you help, you may wonder? The best ways are by contributing financially or donating your time. Hundreds of ComEd employees have committed to volunteering at GCFD and NIFB through the end of the year and beyond. In April, ComEd employees logged 1335 volunteer hours spread over 30 volunteer events. Between now and the end of the year, an additional 44 volunteer events have been scheduled with ComEd Cause of the Year partners.
We are proud to have employees who make giving back to worthwhile causes second nature. Thank you for any help you are able to provide to your communities this Hunger Action Month and beyond.