WBEZ | hunger http://www.wbez.org/tags/hunger Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Non-profit sees greater need for food assistance http://www.wbez.org/news/non-profit-sees-greater-need-food-assistance-109276 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 9.53.20 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been a holiday season of breaking records at <a href="http://www.ajustharvest.org/">A Just Harvest</a>, a Rogers Park nonprofit that feeds the hungry.</p><p>The organization serves hot dinner daily to anyone who shows up, but during the run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas it also distributes &ldquo;holiday kits,&rdquo; uncooked turkeys and traditional fixings, to families that want to prepare the foods at home.</p><p>&ldquo;Saturday we gave away turkeys and kits, and we had folks lined up for two blocks,&rdquo; said Rev. Marylin Pagan-Banks, executive director of A Just Harvest. &ldquo;People lining up and standing in the cold and bearing the weather in order to provide for their families.&rdquo;</p><p>Pagan-Banks said the organization had never seen that before, and that by Thanksgiving week it had already distributed 305 of the kits, with four weeks to go until Christmas.</p><p>Last year, A Just Harvest gave away 380 kits for the two holidays together &mdash;a number that it seems certain to beat this year.</p><p>In part, Pagan-Banks blames <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/illinois-residents-lose-220-million-dollars-snap-benefits-109035">cuts that kicked in this month </a>to the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as the food stamp program.</p><p>Congress declined to renew an increase in funding to the program that had gone into effect in 2009 as part of the Recovery Act. For a family of four, this amounts to $36 less per month of food assistance.</p><p>&ldquo;Folks already struggle towards the end of the month, because the allotment wasn&rsquo;t enough to start with,&rdquo; said Pagan-Banks. &ldquo;And so it&rsquo;s the end of the month, and it&rsquo;s a holiday where traditionally there are different types of food that are eaten, they cost more, turkeys are not cheap, and there&rsquo;s just no way to make ends meet.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 08:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/non-profit-sees-greater-need-food-assistance-109276 Monica Eng's SNAP Challenge food stamp diary and shopping strategy http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/monica-engs-snap-challenge-food-stamp-diary-and-shopping-strategy-108660 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%2010.51.50%20PM.png" style="width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p><strong>Monday food diary</strong></p><p><strong>Breakfast: </strong>Two fried eggs in sauteed kale, two tortillas, 1 tbsp sauerkraut, beans and a cup of tea.</p><p>This meal mirrors what I normally eat for breakfast, but I had to go with factory farmed chicken eggs (99 cents a dozen) because eggs from chickens who live on pasture and aren&rsquo;t fed genetically modified grain cost me $5 to $6 a carton. I also had to swap my morning coffee and cream for Aldi tea. It&rsquo;s actually pretty tasty and I kept some of the concentrated tea at the bottom of the cup to make iced tea later.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Lunch: </strong>Rice and beans, half an avocado, sambal chili sauce.</div><p>Growing up in a half Puerto Rican family, I was blessed with a love for good rice and beans, and &ndash; more importantly &ndash; a grandmother who taught me how to cook them. The secret is a good sofrito, which you would ideally make from scratch with garlic, onion, sweet peppers and cilantro.</p><p>But a great substitute is fresh sofrito sold in area stores like Cermak Produce.</p><p>Unfortunately we had to go with a jarred version, which didn&rsquo;t give up much flavor, so I added extra garlic, salt and sambal, which is technically OK for our WBEZ SNAP challenge because they are condiments.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%2010.52.11%20PM.png" style="height: 276px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="" />Another delicious, money saving trick is buying dried beans, which require overnight soaking but save you tons of money and taste better than canned. The smoky fatty pork hock gives the beans added flavor.</p><p><strong>Snack:</strong> Piece of toast smeared with peanut butter and sliced apple.</p><p>As much as I wanted a sweet from the vending machines, I turned to the office toaster instead. Now that apples are in season, they are super affordable and paired with the protein-packed peanut butter they recall the peanut-sprinkled taffy apples of my childhood.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Snack:</strong> Piece of toast smeared with peanut butter and a nino banana</p><p>These tiny bananas delight my kids, but they&rsquo;re also good for the pocketbook when, in this case, I found very ripe ones discounted at a cost of 99 cents for 18 at Pete&rsquo;s. I like to eat them on a peanut butter and banana sandwich like a hot dog.</p><p><strong>Dinner: </strong>Raw kale tossed with lentils, rice and a mustard vinaigrette (vinegar, oil, dijon mustard).</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%2010.52.34%20PM.png" style="height: 212px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="" /></div><p>On a hot September night, this made for a perfect cool dinner. I cooked the lentils in garlicky, salted water until just soft and then tossed them with rice, chopped kale and a mustard vinaigrette (olive oil, vinegar and mustard). My daughter not only took seconds for dinner but asked me to pack more for her school lunch the next day. &nbsp;I wished my budget would have allowed for some chopped red pepper and scallions to brighten up the color and flavor but that wasn&rsquo;t in the budget.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%2010.52.47%20PM.png" style="height: 201px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="" /></div><p><strong>Tuesday food diary</strong></p><p><strong>Breakfast:</strong> Two eggs poached in a mug, two tortillas, rice and beans, sauerkraut, half avocado and cup of tea.</p><p>When you&rsquo;ve got kids to get dressed and off to school, you realize why so many people reach for pricey convenience foods. In our rush to get my daughter to early morning sports practice and a teenager to high school, I had no time to make breakfast. So I gathered all my ingredients and brought them to work. There, I microwave-poached a couple of eggs in a mug, heated tortillas and beans and made a cup of tea. Most people probably don&rsquo;t have office kitchens as well-equipped as WBEZ&rsquo;s and so missing breakfast at home might mean unhealthy convenience foods or zippo. &nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%2010.53.04%20PM.png" style="height: 183px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="" /></div><p><strong>Lunch:</strong> Bowl of lentils tossed in mustard vinaigrette, half avocado and piece of toast.</p><p>I can do lentils for another day but I can see how they might get a little monotonous after a while.</p><p>The Intelligentsia coffee in the WBEZ kitchen was beckoning me but I&rsquo;m sticking to my Aldi inexpensive tea that I turned into iced tea for this afternoon.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Snack:</strong> Nino banana with peanut butter. &nbsp;</div><p>When I need something small, sweet, a little fatty and nutritious, this is my go to snack.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Snack:</strong> Peach and hard boiled egg</div><p>When it comes to cheap sources of nutritious protein, eggs are one of your best bets. Once considered an unhealthy food that should be limited, more recent studies have vindicated its health profile. Plus, you <img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%2010.53.29%20PM.png" style="height: 259px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Tuesday dinner" />can&rsquo;t beat the portability of a hardboiled egg. I got these peaches from the &ldquo;seconds&rdquo; box at the farmers market for 20 cents each. The pretty peaches cost $5 a quart. After they were ripened, trimmed and sliced the less attractive fruits were delicious.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Dinner:</strong> Rice and beans with kale salad.</div><p>If my meals are starting to look a little repetitive, it&rsquo;s because they are &ndash; and that&rsquo;s how they began to taste. As much as I love rice, beans and kale, I was longing for some of the grilled chicken and watermelon that the rest of my family was feasting on at the dinner table.</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-390d9ae9-103d-0926-ba18-6a4078184af3">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="710" scrolling="no" src="//instagram.com/p/eI8gckr-TV/embed/" width="612"></iframe><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="710" scrolling="no" src="//instagram.com/p/eI3VDTL-bt/embed/" width="612"></iframe></p><p><strong>Monica&#39;s SNAP shopping list</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Total cost: $9.99</p><p><strong>Pork hock $2.37</strong></p><p>(15 oz hock cost 9.50 but we split it, then halved the price again to account for the double value given to SNAP benefits at 61st Street Farmers Market.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>6 eggs .50</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(full carton at Pete&rsquo;s cost 99 cents)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>12 oz dry beans .70</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(I bought a plastic carton for $1.53 and used a little less than half to soak and cook)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Kale bunch $1.25 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(we bought 2 for $5 at the market that doubled SNAP dollars)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>8 oz dry lentils .65</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>4 oz sofrito .75</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>2 peaches .20 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(bruised peaches cost 5 for $1 at 61st Street where SNAP gets double value)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>2 apples .69</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(price at Pete&#39;s)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>6 ninos bananas .33 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(bought 19 for 99 cents)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>2 tbsp peanut butter .20 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(container cost $2.59)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>1/3 loaf bread .83</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(whole loaf was $2.59)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>2.5 cups brown rice .35 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(bag cost 69 cents, I made half)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>12 tortillas .25 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(bought at Atotonilco Tortilleria on 47th Street)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>7 oz Greek yogurt $1</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(Fage was on sale for $1 each)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Avocado .79 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(Pete&rsquo;s price)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>3 tea bags .06 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(Aldi&rsquo;s Benner Classic Blend tea costs $1.89 for 100 bags)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>3 tbsp sauerkraut .06 &nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">(I made 2 huge jars of sauerkraut with one $1 cabbage head and salt)</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-390d9ae9-1074-8a87-dda8-af76aabce10d"><strong>SNAP Recap</strong></p><p dir="ltr">At the end of the two days, we didn&rsquo;t exactly know what it&rsquo;s like to live on food stamps. But we got a taste, and it wasn&rsquo;t very pleasant. It was time consuming, stressful and starting to get monotonous. We saw a world full of food that was beyond our reach and became more aware of how important motivation, consumer education and cooking knowledge is to creating healthy meals on a budget. We can only imagine how much harder it would&rsquo;ve been without our cars, kitchen equipment and access to great products.</p><p>The food stamp debate is a heated one with strong arguments on both sides. But most people who look at federal food consumption and health statistics tend to agree that the nation would be better off if we could all manage to regularly buy, cook and eat nutritious foods.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-390d9ae9-1072-4174-4ead-8547442c692c"><strong>For anyone who wants to take the SNAP challenge during September, here are the rules from the Greater Chicago Food Depository:</strong></p><ol><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Each person should spend a set amount for food and beverages during the Challenge week. That amount is $35/week or $5/day for all food and beverage.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">All food purchased and eaten during the Challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">During the Challenge, only eat food that you purchase for the project. Do not eat food that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments).</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including at receptions, briefings, or other events where food is served.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Keep track of receipts on food spending and take note of your experiences throughout the week.</p></li><li dir="ltr">Invite others to join you, including co-workers, reporters, chefs, or other elected officials.</li></ol><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> @monicaeng</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Sep 2013 22:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/monica-engs-snap-challenge-food-stamp-diary-and-shopping-strategy-108660 Global Activism: Pan African Rural Health and Social Services aids Africans in dire need http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-pan-african-rural-health-and-social-services-aids-africans <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/PHReSS Main.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Pan African Rural Health and Social Services <a href="http://africanhopeanddignity.org" target="_blank">(PRHeSS)</a> aids rural Africans in: maintaining clean drinking water; sanitary living conditions; poverty alleviation and opportunity through education. The group was founded by Chicago area physician Sam Kormoi and his wife, Mary. Dr. Kormoi pays close attention to his native Sierra Leone, a country devastated and traumatized by years of civil war. Dr. Kormoi, along with PRHeSS Board Director, Lesta Woods, will share stories about the people and communities they&#39;re helping to transform.</p><p><strong><em>This Saturday May 4th, 2013, PRHeSS will sponsor a <a href="http://africanhopeanddignity.org/images/walk-a-thon-flyer-2013-big.jpg" target="_blank">Walk-a-Thon</a> of doctors and nurses for food, clothing, medical and school supplies for rural Africans.</em></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F90490217&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 02 May 2013 09:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-pan-african-rural-health-and-social-services-aids-africans Global Activism: Bright Hope International gives aid and comfort to the extreme poor http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BH_Haiti_fixed_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F86395084&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><strong>Join Worldview on Saturday, 4/6/13 for WBEZ&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/air-events-6th-annual-global-activism-expo-102172">6th Annual Global Activism Expo</a>, hosted by the UIC Social Justice Initiative.</strong></em></p><p><a href="http://www.brighthope.org/">Bright Hope International</a> helps faith communities provide aid and assistance to the extreme poor in some of the world&rsquo;s most devastated countries. The group aligns many of its programs with the UN Millennium Development Goals. Some of Bright Hope&#39;s primary goals are in: extreme poverty and hunger eradication; universal primary education; combating infectious disease and promoting environmental sustainability - all this with a focus on gender equality, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Bright Hope recently started a program to rescue girls from the sex trade in northern India.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll talk with Bright Hope&#39;s CEO and president, C.H. Dyer about the group&#39;s work. Dyer has encountered a number of memorable people in his travels:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine Nkandu is a single mother of six from the rural area of Samfya, Zambia. She is thriving after being given the opportunity of a microloan through Bright Hope in 2009. From three years on the program, Justine increased production of beans by 300%. Last year, she harvested 84 gallons of peanuts and used the profits from her farming business to build a house and iron sheets for her roof. &ldquo;My vision is to save money for my children&rsquo;s education before they reach high school, and to maintain food security for my family,&rdquo; she said.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Justine now feels that she has made enough capital to stand on her own and has requested that the leadership from her church allow her to step aside from the microloan program so that others may benefit. &ldquo;My family no longer worries about where our next meal will come from. We are not poor anymore. Now we can bless others. I thank the Lord for giving me knowledge and wisdom to make me reach this far in sustaining my livelihood and my family,&rdquo; she said. Justine is expecting to double her harvest of peanuts, cassava, and maize this year.</p></p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 07:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bright-hope-international-gives-aid-and-comfort-extreme-poor Cook County food pantries report record need http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-food-pantries-report-record-need-105023 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Foodpantry1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s food pantries see the city&rsquo;s growing hunger problem up close.</p><p>&ldquo;You see people lining up before the sun rises even on these coldest days of the year, and waiting, you know, in some cases two, three, four hours,&rdquo; said Bob Dolgan of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Cook County&rsquo;s largest food bank.</p><p>He said in October 2012, their food pantries had more than 550,000 visits - a record number (they don&rsquo;t have numbers yet for more recent months). Over five years, the organization has seen an 84 percent increase in monthly visits to its 650 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75374196" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>That&rsquo;s probably because the number of people in poverty in the area is on the rise. A recent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/one-three-illinois-residents-or-near-poverty-according-heartland-alliance-report" target="_blank">report by the Heartland Alliance</a> found one in three people in Illinois live in or near poverty, and many of those work full-time. A lasting decline in mid-wage jobs that have been replaced by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/new-study-low-wage-workers-chicago-are-older-more-educated-102686" target="_blank">low-wage jobs</a> since the 2009 recession is likely a factor.</p><p>&ldquo;Soup kitchens are volunteer-run organizations,&rdquo; Dolgan said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re doing everything they can to support their communities, but when there are just more and more people at their doors, either they have to pack smaller bags or they have to look at the number of hours they&rsquo;re able to operate.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Below: A report from a food pantry line in Rogers Park</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75498697" width="100%"></iframe><br /><br />To make matters worse, the depository has been receiving less food donations. A combination of drought and lingering recession means corporations, wholesalers and distributors are giving less. Drought devastated crops across the Midwest this year, and a major produce source here ended up with far less surplus through the summer.</p><p>Most of the depository&rsquo;s food supply comes from donations &ndash; and luckily, said Dolgan, individual giving has not taken the dive that corporate giving has. Still, the depository has received 3 million pounds less donated food over the last six months than the same period a year ago, a decrease of about 9 percent.</p><p>They&rsquo;re making up the difference by purchasing food directly, but it&rsquo;s hardly a sustainable plan. The organization&rsquo;s depends on that cash to keep its basic operations afloat.</p><p>&ldquo;We have a lot of trucks we need to fuel, we have thirty-nine vehicles that need to be ready and leave this facility each day,&rdquo; said Dolgan. &ldquo;So it&rsquo;s a challenge.&rdquo;</p><p>And the bottom line remains: smaller bags of food mean emptier stomachs.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/site/PageServer?pagename=hunger_research" target="_blank">Reports by the Food Depository and Feeding America</a> estimate one in six people in Cook County don&rsquo;t know where their next meal will come from.</p><p>What happens if they don&rsquo;t start seeing either more food, or less hungry people?</p><p>&ldquo;We all have a knot in our stomach about that,&rdquo; Dolgan said.</p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 11:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-food-pantries-report-record-need-105023 Artist Steve McQueen transforms the Art Institute of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/artist-steve-mcqueen-transforms-art-institute-chicago-103279 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Steve-McQueen-Charlotte_480.png" style="height: 380px; width: 620px; " title="Steve McQueen, Charlotte (courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)" /></div><p>Mere steps inside the Steve McQueen exhibition you&#39;ll realize this is a completely different sort of show for the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p>For one, the exhibition space is mainly dark - and vast. The first work is <em>Static</em>, McQueen&#39;s 2009 film which consists of a swirling shot of the Statute of Liberty. You can imitate the circling movements of the film by moving around the large two-sided rectangular screen.</p><p>Further in you&#39;ll pass a close-up of an eye bathed in red light, called <em>Charlotte</em>, after the British actress Charlotte Rampling. In another room three of McQueen&#39;s better known installations come together in a wide triangular structure:&nbsp;<em>Bear (1993)</em>,&nbsp;<em>Five Easy Pieces (1995)</em> and&nbsp;<em>Just Above My Head<strong>&nbsp;</strong>(1996).&nbsp;</em></p><p>In fact the entire space has been sculpted to present McQueen&#39;s work, including the construction of a series of small dark screening rooms that are accessed long passages with padded walls. At times it feels a little like traveling through one of those cinematic spaceships, only instead of the usual blindingly white interior, all the lights have been turned out.</p><p>McQueen isn&#39;t well-known in the United States, at least not outside art circles. Mention his name and most people will think you&#39;re talking about the late star of films like <em>Bullit</em> or <em>The Great Escape.</em></p><p>Adding to the confusion, McQueen is probably best known here for directing some recent feature films, including&nbsp;<em>Hunger</em> and <em>Shame.</em></p><p>This review, covering 20 years of his work, will introduce the artist to a wider circle of fans. But even those familiar with McQueen&#39;s work will have the opportunity to encounter new work. His 2003 installation&nbsp;<em>Queen and Country</em> is being shown in the U.S. for the very first time.</p><p>You&#39;ll find it in a small, well-lit room near the back of the exhibition. McQueen worked with photos of British soldiers who died in Iraq. He printed them up as large sheets of postage stamps. They&#39;re framed in glass and hung in a large wooden cabinet.</p><p>He made it in 2003, as the British Imperial Museum&#39;s Official War Artist to Iraq, and aimed for a different view of the war.</p><p>McQueen says his ambition was &quot;to look at this conflict outside of newspapers, outside of television or whatever we get information from as far as how we get our information on conflicts.&quot;</p><p><em>The Steve McQueen retrospective is at the Art Institute through next January.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/artist-steve-mcqueen-transforms-art-institute-chicago-103279 Food pantries can't meet demand http://www.wbez.org/story/food-pantries-cant-meet-demand-95128 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/1420127033_e23f67ba6e.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As holiday menus are being planned, local food banks are scrambling to feed everyone in need this coming year. Area soup kitchens and food pantries are seeing record numbers of people through their doors.</p><p>Kate Maehr heads the Greater Chicago Food Depository. She said food pantries are seeing much more of a new demographic - people who have jobs.</p><p>"But when they get to the end of the month and they've paid all their bills, they don't have enough money to buy food at a grocery store. Increasingly - that's the story of hunger in America," Maehr said.</p><p>The food banks like the one Maehr runs aren't able to supply as much food to pantries as they used to. This year the Greater Chicago Food Fepository is 7.3 million pounds short the amount of food they gave away by this time last year.</p><p>That's because of the rising cost of food. Maehr said area pantries and kitchens are having to close or scale back their services because they can't meet demand.</p><p>The Food Depository estimates 1 in 5 Cook County residents are food insecure - meaning they don't know where they'll find their next meal.</p><p>Maehr urged Chicagoans to contribute canned food to collection areas around town.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 11:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/food-pantries-cant-meet-demand-95128 Rich dog, poor dog: Foreclosures fill animal shelters while high-end pet products take off http://www.wbez.org/story/rich-dog-poor-dog-foreclosures-fill-animal-shelters-while-high-end-pet-products-take-92998 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-10/The Homeless Dog by DeViLtEch for web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When people lose their jobs—and their homes—things like food and vet care for their animals start to look less like priorities.</p><p>At the Animal Welfare League in suburban Chicago Ridge, behind doors plastered with posters asking for donations of dog food, are hundreds of panicked, barking dogs. Communications director Terry Sparks says the number of animals they’re dealing with has doubled since February—and it’s clear to her that a lot of them are victims of the ongoing foreclosure crisis.</p><p>“We find a lot of real estate agents finding abandoned animals in houses,” says Sparks. “They’ll go to show a house that’s been foreclosed and they’ll find a poor starved dog in there.”</p><p>Linda Estrada, the League’s Executive director, was present when a vacant house turned out to have not just one starved animal—but two. “There was one dead dog and one live dog, and he was bones covered with skin,” says Estrada. “He was a skeleton. We pulled him through, but he couldn’t even walk.”&nbsp;</p><p>And while those stories are tragic, it’s no picnic when people bring in their own pets to shelters. Cook County Animal Control’s Donna Alexander has seen older people—and their aging pets—especially hard hit.&nbsp;</p><p>“The bills keep on getting higher and higher and higher, and they can’t afford to keep [the pets],” she says. “So we get a lot of elderly cats coming into the system, and a lot of elderly dogs and a lot of very tearful owners that reluctantly have to give them up.&nbsp;</p><p>And those elderly dogs, they don’t get adopted so fast. “If you see a fifteen year-old dog with arthritis in a cage, you’re going to be a bit reluctant to try and adopt it,” says Alexander. “Because you want the dog to live more than a year if you’re going to put your trust in this dog and you know the dog’s only got about a few more months.”</p><p>An un-adoptable dog. That’s pretty grim. And although official numbers are hard to come by, it’s clear that the recession has produced hordes of abandoned and relinquished pets.</p><blockquote><p>(Meanwhile, there’s this weird data point from the city of Chicago that we should explain: The number of animals coming into Chicago’s animal-control system has actually gone down in recent years. But all of that reduction is in stray animals—which have been dropping sharply in number for years because of an aggressive spay-and-neuter program. But the number of pets who have been handed over to shelters by their owners has gone up in the city as well.)</p></blockquote><p><strong>Rich Dog</strong><br> Even with more pets becoming homeless because of the recession, the pet products industry has continued to grow, increasing its business through every year of the recession.&nbsp; This year, The American Pet Products Association says the industry will bring in nearly 51 billion dollars.&nbsp; That’s five percent more than in 2010.&nbsp; The Association’s president, Bob Vetere, says much of the growth is in high-end food and convenience products.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“People who aren’t feeling the pinch at all--or feeling it much less, they’re migrating to even higher end types of foods and types of products,” Vetere says.&nbsp;</p><p>He means products like the High-Tech Pet Company’s electronic Pet-Activated Door. A story about this product from HGTV ends with “The door will set you back three hundred dollars,” an HGTV announcer says in one clip, “but that might be a small price to pay for your dog-duty emancipation.”</p><p>Emancipation?&nbsp; We thought letting the dog out was the easy part.</p><p>And then there’s the food, from companies like the Canadian firm Orijen, which touts its “Regional Red” kibble as “setting an entirely new standard for dry dog foods…[replicating] the same diverse balance of fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and grasses that dogs would encounter in their natural environment.”</p><p>Regional Red also costs about five times as much as Kibbles’n’Bits.</p><p>Vetere says the high-tech products tend to be purchased by baby boomers and young professionals, people who want to be able to keep up their lifestyles while making sure their pets at home are taken care of. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>So some dogs—maybe they’re the canine One-Percenters—are doing just fine in the past few years.&nbsp; But as with people, it has not been a good time for most dogs to get old, sick, or poor.&nbsp;</p><p>* * *</p><p>For this week’s Windy Indicator, we cut over to the Glenwood Sunday Market in Rogers Park, where, alongside the organic farmers and the artisan ice cream vendors, David Nels has set up shop on a Sunday morning, sharpening knives.&nbsp; Customers drop them off, and Nels puts them on his slow-turning whetstone while the owners go pick up their organic greens and grass-fed beef.&nbsp;</p><p>He says the bad economy has been good for his business. “We’ve started to become less of a wasteful society,” says Nels. “We’ve actually gone from, ‘We’re gonna rely just on restaurants and take-out,’ to ‘We’re watching more cooking channels now, we’re becoming a little more daring.’”</p><p>Which means: Cooking more at home.</p><p>Which means: Wanting a sharper knife.</p><p>So: Knowing that money can be scarce, Nels has the following advice for anyone considering buying an expensive carbon-steel knife from Germany or Japan: Check out a thrift shop or a garage sale first.&nbsp;</p><p>“Sometimes people will discard something just because it’s dull,” he says. “You know what? Only a few dollars to get it sharpened and you might find yourself a little treasure. I’ve had people come back with big smiles on their faces, they’ve found two- three-hundred dollar knives at a Goodwill store, and they paid two or three dollars for them.”</p><p>He also says: Don’t be so quick to get rid of a knife that’s not the latest and greatest.&nbsp;</p><p>“People will sell what their parents gave them or handed down to them as a wedding gift, and not realize the quality of the knives,” Nels says. “And a lot of the knives made 20 years ago are really good quality metal.</p><p>“A lot of the knives made today are made with surgical steel: Very good knives--they’re a little bit lighter—but they don’t hold the edge as well as some of the older models. You’ll find yourself sharpening a lot more with some of the newer models &nbsp;versus some of the older ones that have heavier, harder steel.”&nbsp;</p><p>If he’s giving customers advice that means they’re going to come and see him less often, then it sounds like David Nels is not kidding around about having plenty of business.</p></p> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 10:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/rich-dog-poor-dog-foreclosures-fill-animal-shelters-while-high-end-pet-products-take-92998 New study says 1 in 5 Chicagoans are 'food insecure' http://www.wbez.org/story/new-study-says-1-5-chicagoans-are-food-insecure-92356 <p><p>A new study by the Greater Chicago Food Depository says one in five Chicagoans are “food insecure.”</p><p>The agency looked at data from 77 city neighborhoods and 119 Cook County suburbs over the past decade. It says that 20.6 percent of Chicagoans and 15.4 percent of Cook County residents report a decrease in quality or quantity in their diet.</p><p>“Hunger [in the past] has been defined by did you go to sleep wishing you had something else to eat or not having enough food,” says Mari Gallagher, principal of Mari Gallagher Research and author of “Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago.”</p><p>She said she does not find the statistics surprising.</p><p>“Hunger today also has a lot to do with people running down to the fast food place and, for a couple of dollars, filling up on a lot of empty calories," Gallagher says.</p><p>The Depository survey found the most insecure communities were concentrated on the Southwest and West sides of the city. In Chicago proper, Riverdale (40.8 percent), Washington Park (34.0 percent), Englewood and North Lawndale (both 31.2 percent) had the highest rates of food insecurity, while Ford Heights (55.5 percent), Robbins (45.0 percent) and Dixmoor (38.7 percent) had the highest rates in the suburbs.</p><p>For comparison, the national and state rate for food insecurity last year was a little more than 14.5 percent, according to a 2010 survey by the USDA.</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 22:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-study-says-1-5-chicagoans-are-food-insecure-92356 State officials promote Asian carp as a solution for hungry families http://www.wbez.org/story/state-officials-promote-asian-carp-solution-hungry-families-91912 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-13/Asian Carp_Flickr_Kate Gardiner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois officials hope they can make progress on two different problems by feeding Asian carp to hungry families.</p><p>The invasive species of fish has been added to the state's "Target Hunger Now!" program, which encourages hunters and fishermen to donate food to the needy. The state plans to promote Asian carp as a tasty food later this month with a cooking demonstration in Chicago.</p><p>The carp have been spreading across Illinois rivers and streams, killing off native species. Officials want to create demand so that commercial fishing will reduce the carp's numbers.</p><p>In March of 2010 the Chicago <em>Reader</em> <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/gyrobase/asian-carp-cooking-chicago-chefs/Content?oid=1571974&amp;storyPage=1">provided several well-regarded chefs with Asian carp</a> and asked them to try and prepare the fish. The results were mixed; Lockwood’s Phillip Foss described the carp as “about as good of a freshwater fish as I've found, period,” whereas Paul Kahan and team were “creeped out” after a few attempts at butchering and aborted their attempt. Most noted the difficulty of obtaining meat from the fish given its unusual bone structure.</p><p>The state Department of Natural Resources says Target Hunger Now! could process up to 40,000 pounds of fish a day.</p></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/state-officials-promote-asian-carp-solution-hungry-families-91912