Stories by Jennifer Cotto

Food Pantries See Increase in Demand Due to Inflation

A warehouse at the Greater Chicago Food Depository is pictured on May 10, 2022. (WTTW News)

Anyone who’s bought groceries lately can tell inflation continues to push the cost of food to record highs. And people who can’t afford the higher prices are showing up at food pantries across Chicagoland.

Biden Administration Considers Student Debt Cancellation

(QuinceCreative / Pixabay)

The Biden Administration has floated vague proposals to eliminate billions in collective student debt. It could set a limit of anywhere between $10 and $50,000 and apply only to non-wealthy earners. The details have yet to be ironed out, but not everyone is on board with the idea.

Chicago Creeps Up American Lung Association’s List of Most Polluted Cities

(WTTW News)

Chicago has been creeping up the list for a few years. In 2019, the city ranked number 18. Three years later, the levels of pollution landed the Windy City in the 16th spot.

Expanded State Program Aims to Help Address Youth Mental Health Issues

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaks to Nequa Valley High School students on April 18, 2022. (WTTW News)

Public health officials are sounding the alarm about an increase in mental health issues among young people, saying the pandemic aggravated what was already a crisis.

American Library Association Director Says Book Bans Aim to ‘Suppress Social Change’

(WTTW News)

Tracie Hall, executive director of the American Library Association, says the books that are being banned in the past year target topics like racism, sexuality and sexual orientation.

Gov. Pritzker to Follow State Health Department Lead on Masking

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about a slow rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the state. It comes amid rising cases nationwide, and after Philadelphia announces it will reinstate its indoor mask mandate.

Rates of Sexually Transmitted Disease Increase Across the Country for 7th Consecutive Year

( sasint / pixabay )

Even before the pandemic began, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases were on the rise across the U.S. But now Congress is cutting funding to clinics that help provide testing and combat the spread of illness.