Support for Second Harvest North Central Food Bank went through the roof on Tuesday’s Give to the Max Day. According to GiveMN.org, in 24 hours, $14 million in charitable donations went to over 3,400 Minnesota non-profit organizations, including over $20,000 to Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. This additional support could not have come at a better time, since the need for hunger relief grows every day due to the recession.
We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from this promotion. People were calling to ask if Second Harvest was part of the campaign and how to access it. We even had several people come in to the food bank and use our computers to make their donations. Donors were spurred on by the match that was offered and by the good coverage by the media.
According to a story in the today’s Star Tribune, the $500,000 match will only be .04 cents on the dollar, but that still adds up to feeding extra people here at Second Harvest. The match encouraged more people to give at a time of great need.
Many people throughout the state supported hunger relief organizations and Second Harvest Food Banks in particular. Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul received the most donations overall and Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank in Duluth was ninth. These two food banks, along with Second Harvest North Central in Grand Rapids and three other food banks in Minnesota are part of the Feeding America network, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization.
The need is great this year. There is no sign of the recession lifting in the communities served by the food bank. In addition to large numbers of the poor and working poor, many newly unemployed people are exhausting their resources and coming to Second Harvest and their partner agencies for help.
Food shelf use in the region continues to increase as the recession continues (despite reports otherwise) and unemployment stays high. Compared to the first three quarters of 2008, household visits to food shelves in the region served by Second Harvest North Central Food Bank are up 13%. People who were able to get by on their own before, are now finding they need help meeting basic needs. As we enter the winter home heating season, we expect even more people will have to turn to food shelves to put food on the table and keep the house warm.
It is clear that in tough times like these, Minnesotans respond to help their neighbors in need.