NAPERVILLE, Ill. – March 11, 2021 – Nicor Gas serves millions of families and individuals in Illinois, where nearly 11% of residents live in poverty. Food insecurity, homelessness and affordable housing are some of the deficiencies that have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is with this understanding that the company announces partnership initiatives to help meet the basic needs of 250,000 families who live at or below the federal poverty level within Nicor Gas’ northern Illinois service territory.
“Due to the pandemic and the colder temperatures, more families are at home and using more heat. Some people are making tough choices about which bills to pay,” said John O. Hudson III, president and CEO of Nicor Gas. “We’re committed to helping our customers address these and other insecurities due to the loss of income during challenging times.”
To ensure its efforts align with the needs of the community, Nicor Gas is partnering with several charitable organizations. Among them are the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Operation Warm, People's Resource Center, PADS organizations and many more.
“Nobody should have to choose between warming their home and having enough food for their family to eat, but those are the kind of choices that many are forced to make. Nicor Gas’ community partnership with Northern Illinois Food Bank over many years — especially during this time of crisis and elevated need for food assistance — makes a tremendous difference for those we serve together,” said Jeannine Kannegiesser, director of corporate and foundation giving at Northern Illinois Food Bank.
Feeding America’s latest research shows that the general food insecurity rate in northern Illinois has increased by 62%, and the child food insecurity rate increased 95%. In Cook County alone, an estimated 800,000 people were living in food insecure households in 2020, a 51% increase from the year before.
“Never in our 41-year history as an organization have we seen such an increase in the number of people seeking food assistance,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “We’re so grateful for the support of corporate partners like Nicor Gas to help us meet the immense need.”
Also, this year, in partnership with Shipt and vendor partners Richards Graphics and T. Castro Produce, Nicor Gas provided food and essential goods care packages to more than 2,000 Nicor Gas customers. The care packages included a mix of food staples such as dried beans, rice, cereal, pasta, canned fruit and vegetables, soap and toilet paper — delivered directly to their homes.
In addition, Nicor Gas has energy assistance resources and financial assistance for those affected by the ongoing pandemic, including flexible payment plans and energy-saving information to help customers manage expenses.
“We understand that providing safe, reliable and affordable energy also meets a basic need, and delivering that energy to our customers is a charge we approach determinedly as top priority,” Hudson said.
To learn more about energy assistance options, visit: nicorgas.com/energyassistance.
For food resources including mobile pantries and pop-up events, visit the Northern Illinois Food Bank at solvehungertoday.org and the Greater Chicago Food Depository at chicagosfoodbank.org.