Monday, August 24, 2009

Gerald Stejskal 2009 Outstanding Senior Volunteer

On Friday, dedicated volunteer Gerald (Jerry) Stejskal was named Outstanding Senior Volunteer at a celebration at the Itasca County Fair. One of two outstanding seniors presented with this year's honor, Jerry has been a volunteer at Second Harvest since 2002. He showed up one day at the old food bank building looking for ways to help and he has been volunteering at least twice a week ever since.
Jerry can be depended on to do whatever is needed; stock the food shelf, pick up donated bread, work in the re-pack room, assemble boxes for the holiday program or carry out for people coming for food. He is a core member of the "Pie Guys" working every Monday and Thursday mornings to stock the food shelf.
Second Harvest relies on people like Jerry who give of their time to help others. We couldn't provide food for thousands of people every week without the support of many volunteers.
Congratulations Jerry - Super Volunteer.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Missing Meals

During the summer we raise awareness about the stress on low-income families when children are at home and not getting meals at school. Children are missing the lunch, and often the breakfast, they receive at school every week day. Food shelves and other hunger relief organizations help provide those missing meals.

Another way to think of missing meals is the gap between the meals people provide for themselves through wages or other earned income, the meals provided by government sources like food stamps, school meals and WIC, the meals provided by charity such as food shelves and food bank programs and the amount of food required to meet minimum standards. A study done by Second Harvest Heartland Food Bank in St. Paul, an released in March of this year provides county by county data on how large this gap is in Minnesota. Check out to see the full report.

The report shows that in the seven counties served by Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, individuals who’s incomes are at 185% or less of the federal poverty guidelines, provide between 59% and 65% of their meals through their own cash resources. Public sources: federal food stamps (SNAP), school meals, summer feeding, WIC, Commodity programs (Mac & Naps, TEFAP, and state food shelf funding, provide between 15% and 26% of their meals. Non-profits like food shelves, community meals, afterschool snack programs and other food bank programs provide between 4% and 6% of the meals required.

The gap between these food sources and minimum food requirements are the “Missing Meals”. In north central Minnesota, the gap is between 8% in Mille Lacs county and 17% in Aitkin county. Our challenge is to find ways to fill these gaps and provide people with adequate food.