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Statement on passage of the FY25 Illinois State Budget 

The Greater Chicago Food Depository applauds the Illinois General Assembly for passing a FY25 state budget that includes $2.5 million in critical support for Illinois farmers, food producers, and people facing food insecurity, $300,000 in grants for schools to expand their breakfast programs for children at the start of the school day, and a first-ever Illinois Child Tax Credit, among other investments to support residents to thrive. The Governor is expected to sign the final budget soon.  

The impact of the Illinois Farm to Food Bank Program will be far-reaching. By connecting food banks like the Food Depository with growers and producers, it will provide new economic opportunities for these Illinois businesses while also increasing the supply of quality, nutritious food for food banks to distribute to families facing food insecurity.

The program will ensure dollars are reinvested into the Illinois food system and reduce food waste by providing an additional market for lightly blemished fruits and vegetables and other products that might otherwise be left in the field or landfill. The Food Depository is eager to invest in Illinois growers and producers to support the agricultural economy while supporting Illinois families. 

The Breakfast After the Bell grant program will help schools implement flexible breakfast models that will make it easier for children to access a nutritious breakfast, setting them up for a productive day of learning. Providing kids with breakfast helps reduce the risk of developing health issues and increases their chances of academic success.

The competitive grants will help schools afford the start-up costs needed to set up a program like purchasing equipment such as kiosks, portable coolers and storage. The Food Depository looks forward to working with the Illinois State Board of Education and schools across Illinois to support implementation of the Breakfast After the Bell grant program.  

We are grateful to our legislative champions who helped make these initiatives happen: Senator Linda Holmes and Christopher Belt, and Representatives Sonya Harper, Aaron Ortiz and Jawaharial Williams. We thank them for their commitment to ending hunger.  

The final budget also included $50 million to create an Illinois Child Tax Credit for qualifying families with children under 12 years old. The tax credit will be 20 percent of the taxpayer’s state earned income tax credit (EITC) or up to $300 annually, and will be increased to up to 40 percent of the EITC every year to create a $100 million program after 2026.

A state Child Tax Credit will give thousands of parents more resources to put food on the table and support their families in other ways to thrive. The Food Depository is grateful for the leadership of the Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition of more than 50 organizations, the Governor’s Office, and members of the General Assembly for making this win possible for Illinois families. 

The overall $53.1 billion budget contains many investments that are critical to help Illinois residents gain economic security so that they can thrive. Many of the investments align with our mission to end hunger — through both direct investments in cash and food assistance and foundational investments that enable people to remain food secure, like childcare, housing, and healthcare.

Despite these wins for Illinois, we are concerned about a change in the final FY25 budget that will restrict eligibility for cash and food assistance for non-citizen victims of trafficking, torture or other serious crimes (VTTC) and will work to understand and mitigate the impact alongside our community and coalition partners.  

The Greater Chicago Food Depository will continue to analyze the final budget and work with our public and private partners to identify opportunities to end hunger in Illinois.  

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