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     Hunger doesn’t stop in a pandemic – it increases. New reports from Feeding America in conjunction with the University of Illinois project that as many as 17 million more Americans could be food insecure in the upcoming year, including 1 in 4 children. Since COVID-19 hit, the Good Samaritan Inn’s staff makes sure anyone who is hungry can get a free lunch between 11:30am and 1pm – 7 days a week.

     “We haven’t missed a meal during the pandemic, and our staff has ensured everyone’s safety through preventative measures including increased handwashing, wearing masks, daily wellness checks, and social distancing,” says executive director Nicky Besser. “If you’re hungry, we’re here.”

     After cancelling their spring fundraiser due to COVID-19 just days before it was supposed to happen, The Good Samaritan Inn is moving forward with their adapted Empty Chili Bowl Fundraiser. The event features a $5 drive-thru dinner for community members and a business lunch for offices. Special items for purchase include handmade ceramic bowls from local artists and Good Samaritan Inn branded masks.

     “The Good Samaritan Inn has been serving on the front lines of hunger relief for more than 30 years,” says Board President Mary Garrison. “Although we’ll miss visiting with patrons in-person, we are confident that the Decatur community will show up now more than ever to support us. Every bowl counts.”

     The 2020 Empty Chili Bowl is on Tuesday, November 17th, 2020. Community members can pre-order chili dinner and pick it up via drive-thru at the Good Samaritan Inn from 4:30pm-7pm. Businesses can pre-order an office chili lunch to be delivered during a designated time window. Sponsorships are available and monetary donations are accepted.

     “It’s more than just a meal,” says Besser. “Eating here means more money for bills like utilities, rent, car payments, or childcare. It means fuel for students who may otherwise go without during virtual learning. Supporting us helps keep people from falling into further financial hardship during an unprecedented time of need and beyond.”

     Learn more at The Mission of The Good Samaritan Inn is to create opportunities with the support of our community toward improving the lives of our economically disadvantaged neighbors through daily nourishment, life skills education, and job training programs. You can learn more at

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