Heartland Alliance

A Year of Big Change.

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September is Hunger Action Month, which is a time for us to reaffirm our commitment to combating hunger by volunteering, advocating for change, sharing stories, and more. Access to food is a basic human right and at Heartland Alliance, we are working to make that right a reality for all by providing meals through our food pantries, integrating proper nutrition into our healthcare services and fighting to protect government programs that allow families to put food on the table. 

So in this month’s e-news, we're inviting you to learn more about food insecurity, see how we’re working to create better access to nutrition, and lifting up what YOU can do to help protect crucial supports that keep people out of poverty and make sure they don't go hungry.


Want to know more about food insecurity in your community? Data on food security can help you plan how to best take action to end hunger in your community so see our data tool to learn more.


Advancing Nutrition Supports

Working to End Hunger Through Legislation

This past year Heartland Alliance, along with key partners, advanced a series of bills that strengthen and expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help ensure that people experiencing hunger are able to receive food assistance. Last month the last of these bills were signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

• The Victims of Trafficking, Torture and Other Serious Crimes (VTTC) Program Extension (HB2118) continues a critical support for survivors for another 3 years to ensure medical, food, and cash assistance to foreign-born survivors of human trafficking, torture and other serious crimes while they are preparing to file and waiting for a decision on their visa or asylum applications.

• The SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) Program Bill (SB1791) will help build a stronger more effective SNAP E&T program by encouraging new investment, capturing additional federal dollars and preventing people with significant barriers to employment from losing their food assistance.

• The College Student Hunger Bill (SB1641) addresses the address the growing problem of hunger among college students by requiring the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to provide information about (SNAP) eligibility to all students accepted for enrollment and identified as eligible for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant.

• The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program Bill (HB3343) will allow SNAP recipients who are elderly, disabled or experiencing homelessness to use their LINK cards to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants. This will improve food access and nutrition for many people Heartland Alliance serves.

We will continue to work to do outreach around the new laws and work with partners and state agencies to ensure that these new bills, along with others we passed, are implemented successfully.


Together, we can help keep food on the table for millions of low-income families across the country.


Protecting SNAP for ALL

Lift Your Voice Today to #SAVESNAP

Families throughout the US are facing a threat to crucial supports with the recent introduction of a new Trump Administration proposal. If this proposed rule change is implemented, it will cause over 3 million people to lose SNAP benefits and 500,000 children to lose free school meals.

Households across the country with seniors, working families, and children would be hardest hit. In Illinois, nearly 85,000 households will lose access to the basic assistance that helps them put food on the table if this rule goes into effect.

This proposed rule puts millions at risk and we need your help to stop it! Tell the Administration why you oppose this proposed rule by submitting your comment here. All comments must be unique and are due by the end of today- Monday, September 23, 2019.


"Chicago is a city that teaches you quickly about poverty, inequity and injustice but it is also full of movement builders and change-makers – I found a community of people fighting for a better world."


Look Inside: Kim Drew, Legislative Advocacy Director

Kimberly Drew is Heartland Alliance's Legislative Advocacy Director and has been a dedicated part of the team for 11 years. Her passion for her work derives from the love she has for empowering people to discover their own voice, strength and ability to make change for themselves and their communities. She is an ardent supporter of social justice, a lover of travel and will soon be a Chicago Marathon runner.

Meet Kim Drew! 


Spotlight on Data: Understanding Hunger in Illinois

Data on food security can help you plan how to best take action to end hunger in your community. Our local data portal has a wealth of indicators to help you understand the state of nutrition and hunger in your community. You can access county-level data on food insecurity (which shows whether people know where their next meal is coming from), child food insecurity, and SNAP receipt on our interactive website. The site allows you to view the data on a map to compare to other counties, or look at the data in a table to understand change over time or get a more granular look. Let us know how you’re using the data to end hunger in your community!

Update: One Step Closer to Passing the “License to Work Act” 

Chicago's City Council has passed an ordinance to immediately end license suspension for non-driving violations in the city. For over 3 years the Transit Table coalition (of which Heartland Alliance is a part of) has led the charge to end license suspensions for non-moving violations and with the support of our partners, other advocates and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a big step has been made towards equity in Chicago’s fines, fees and debt collection practices!

The next step is to pass the License to Work Act (SB1786) at the state level and we need your help! Join us for phone banking to ensure legislators know that we need to end driver's license suspension for non-moving violations in Illinois!

Learn more about the License to Work Act and Join Us for Phone Banking

Update: Public Charge

Many of you may have heard that the Trump Administration published its final rule regarding the public charge rule on inadmissibility, generally referred to as ‘public charge’. This proposed change will impact who can enter the country and get a green card, with low-income immigrants and those who use certain public benefits being penalized. The news around this rule has generated questions and concerns about our staff and participants at Heartland Alliance, our partners, and from our communities, so we wanted to provide clear information:

First, no policy changes have gone into effect: The final rule was published, but it does not go into effect until October 15, 2019. That date is also subject to change due to likely legal battles.

Heartland Alliance services remain the same and we are not going anywhere: People should continue to participate in programs that support them. This rule is designed to sow fear in immigrant communities and we need to push back against that fear. We are committed to supporting and fighting for the immigrant community and our policy team and our National Immigrant Justice Center are working closely with advocates from across the nation to explore all our options in combatting this rule. Click here to read our full post on public charge.


What We're Reading

  • Heartland Alliance Policy & Communications Fellow, Brittany Harris is Reading…
    The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

    “I'm currently reading The Warmth of Other Suns, a story about America's Great Migration. During the Great Migration, Black people left the south seeking better treatment and opportunities in cities like Chicago, only to be met with inequities, lack of access to the most basic of needs, and even violence. Reflecting on this time in our nation’s history is especially important as we celebrate 100 years since the Chicago Race Riots, which was sparked in 1919, when Eugene Williams, a black 17-year-old, and his friends built a raft to play on in Lake Michigan. White people in the water and on the beach grew agitated when they saw black teenagers in “their” section of the lake, so they began throwing rocks at the boys, eventually hitting Eugene and causing him to drown. This incident sparked the race riots in Chicago and is a reminder that access to basics such as public spaces were things that were, and continue to be, denied to many in our society and the pursuit of such access has even cost people their lives. We need to continue to push for change to ensure that communities who have endured barriers and violence throughout our history are able to access basic needs and fulfill their full potential.”

We're Hiring


Heartland Alliance’s Research & Policy Division engages in research on social issues and solutions, policy and systems change, and field building nationwide. The division is home to Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center, Policy & Advocacy team, and our National Initiatives on Economic Opportunity.

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