Northern Illinois Food Bank offers nutrition program at local pantries

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Here is a startling number: In Kane County alone, 15 percent of children are food insecure. This holiday season ABC7 invites you to Share the Joy and help someone in need.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is partnering with organizations across Chicagoland to make sure families not only have the food they need but are eating healthy as well.

A new program in Elgin aims to make sure families being educated on healthy eating.

"It focuses really on diabetes prevention but it's really any chronic disease that's food related I helps with. It's a 10 week program where we meet people where they are at," said Jennifer Lamplough, director of nutrition programs and executive chef at Northern Illinois Food Bank. "They come in, they get the class, they get an extra distribution of produce, then they get to go through the pantry like normal hours."

The Whole Body Approach to Disease Prevention Program aims to fight chronic diseases like diabetes heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity with simple recipes and cooking lessons. The Northern Illinois Food Bank partnered with six organizations and pantries like Centro de Informacion to teach nutrition education.

"As people come for whatever services that we provide, especially if there might be diabetes in their background or family background, they are invited to participate," said Jaime Garcia, executive director of Centro de Informacion.

"This program is so great because we are already meeting people where they are already at so we already at so we already know people are already coming to the food pantry. We know that they need food assistance they don't have to go somewhere else. They are comfortable here, they know the people here and it's safe here. We come and offer them this amazing educational opportunity," Lamplough said.

Dieticians said it's all about prevention and healthy relationships with food.

"It's a nontraditional approach toward healthy eating and we are really teaching our participants how to have a healthy relationship with both food and physical activity," said Mary Carol MacDonald, registered dietitian and manager of diabetes services at Presence St. Joseph Hospital.

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