Today a new coalition was formed - the Itasca County Food Shelf Coalition. The leaders of the food shelves from Bigfork, Deer River, Warba and Grand Rapids met with the United Way of 1000 Lakes at Second Harvest Food Bank this morning. The new coalition will seek funding from the United Way to meet the increasing needs for emergency food assistance in Itasca County.
The numbers of people receiving food from these food shelves has increased by almost 50% since 2003. The current economic crisis has caused even more people to turn to food shelves for help feeding their families. The Itasca County Food Shelf Coalition will seek funding from the United Way to help meet this most basic of needs - food.
Without increased funding, food shelves will have a difficult time providing enough extra food to for the people who now find themselves needing help. Unemployment, job layoffs, cuts in work hours and the increasing costs for housing, transportation and food are causing more people than ever before to seek assistance. Additional funding for food shelves is crucial this year.
Meeting at Second Harvest today were Kathy Thompson and Kathy Nelson from Deer River Food Shelf, Pearl Barter from the Warba Food Shelf, Bonnie Cole from Northern Itasca Food Shelf in Bigfork, Ellen Christmas from the Grand Rapids Food Shelf, Jody Hane, Executive Director of United Way of 1000 Lakes and me, Sue Estee.
The Itasca County Food Shelf Coalition will continue to provide food to low-income people in Itasca County until all citizens are able to meet their own needs and a safety net is no longer needed.