The Lawyers Feeding Illinois campaign was created by ISBA president John E. Thies of Urbana and is chaired by his wife, Terry Thies. “Our goal is to provide a million meals through donations of food and money,” said John Thies.
Among speakers at the kickoff was Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who spoke about the tremendous need and credited lawyers for offering to help. “As lawyers, we have the opportunity to use our abilities to help others. While many people think our work is exclusively done in the courtroom, today we’re here to focus on a more basic need - helping people in the kitchen. Lawyers Feeding Illinois gives all of us involved in the practice of law an opportunity to put our time and talents to good use beyond the courtroom.”
Campaign chair Terry Thies said the food and fundraising drive will take place February 18 through March 1, 2013. Lawyers and lawyer teams can now sign up to participate at www.lawyersfeedingil.org, established to provide updates as the program unfolds.
“By scheduling this event at a time other than the holidays, we believe we will more effectively underscore the need for food donations and fundraising year-round,”
John Thies explained the program is a major focus of his year as ISBA president. “These are difficult times financially for many Illinois families,” he said. “No one should go hungry because they lack the resources they need to put food on the table. We believe our efforts will help call attention to the ongoing problem of hunger as well as collect food and financial donations that directly help families and individuals in need.”
The problem is especially acute for children, according to John and Terry Thies, who note that more than 600,000, or one in four children in Illinois experience food insecurity.
“Even with the federal breakfast and lunch programs for children, and the federal food stamps program for families and individuals, there are residents in Illinois who go hungry every day,” Terry Thies stated. “Unfortunately, many households that fall below the poverty line don’t qualify for federal assistance.”
Other speakers at the kickoff were Peter J. Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.; Liz Rochford, a past president of the Lake County Bar Association, and Pete Schaefer, director of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
The 33,000-member ISBA (isba.org), with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public through a website (illinoislawyerfinder.com)
Feeding Illinois is a coalition of eight Feeding America food banks providing food to nearly 2,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that feed 1.4 million residents across the state. The organization is committed to educating people about the role of food banks in addressing hunger and raising awareness of the need to devote more resources and attention to hunger issues. Feeding Illinois is made up of Central Illinois Foodbank, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Peoria Area Food Bank, River Bend Foodbank, St. Louis Area Foodbank and Tri-State Foodbank.