Food shelf use in our 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 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.
One in eight Americans struggles with hunger. In Minnesota, 11% of our children live in poverty and 33% of children receive free or reduced lunch, according to the Minnesota Kids Count Data Book 2009. Children are especially vulnerable and suffer long term consequences from hunger and poverty. The current economic crisis will negatively affect the health and education of many of our children for years to come.