Monday, August 29, 2011


Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, today released a new study which reveals in north central Minnesota, 23.4% of children under the age of 18 are struggling with hunger.

The study, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011”, also reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children are food insecure.“Children are the most vulnerable members of our society, and the fact that almost 25% live in food insecure households is shocking,” said Sue Estee, Executive Director at Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. “Hungry children don’t develop properly, are more prone to illness and have lower grades in school.”

“Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity” provides the following data for north central Minnesota, by county, in an interactive map format:
  • The percentage of the north central Minnesota population who is food insecure, by county.
  • The percentage of children in north central Minnesota that is eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.
  • The percentage of children in by county in north central Minnesota that is not eligible for assistance from federal nutrition programs like Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free or reduced-price school meals, and others.

An executive summary of the report can be found at:

The study is an important tool because it provides critical information for developing strategies to alleviate child hunger. Of the children living in food insecure households, 68% of them are eligible for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and other federal nutrition programs like WIC.

By providing additional details about the face of child food insecurity at the county level, “Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011” will enable food banks, the community based agencies they serve and policy makers to redefine approaches in addressing needs of hungry children and their families and develop more effective policy solutions.

This research is supported by ConAgra Foods Foundation. The ConAgra Foods Foundation funded this research with the goal of advancing the collective understanding of child hunger in America, so that resources at the local and national level could be better leveraged to help children and families in need.

The research is based on “Map the Meal Gap 2011: Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level”, supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nielsen.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Play a role in ending hunger

September is Hunger Action Month

Grand Rapids, MN – Second Harvest North Central Food Bank is part of a national movement to raise awareness and take action to help the 50 million Americans who experience hunger.

September is Hunger Action Month. Throughout the month, Feeding America’s nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, including Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, is working to engage citizens to take action and help spread the word about how pervasive hunger is in every community. Feeding America food banks are participating in many ways including: working with state governors to officially declare Hunger Action Month in each state; a nationwide Paper Plate Campaign to collect local messages from food assistance agencies to be read and delivered to members of Congress in Washington D.C.; spreading the word with our celebrity partners via a video campaign that tells the real stories of Americans struggling with hunger; and the 30 Ways in 30 Days campaign to provide individuals exciting ways to participate in their community throughout September - there will be daily “ways” to take action with Second Harvest North Central Food Bank posted on the Hunger Action Month website– along with many additional suggestions for getting involved.

Nationwide, 50 million Americans suffer from food insecurity. But hunger’s impact is felt by many more than the millions living with food insecurity: hunger impacts child development, health and wellness, education, workforce development – our general welfare as a nation. It is also an issue right here in our community – and at the local level, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank works to combat hunger and aid the hungry living right here in north central Minnesota. Throughout September, there will be opportunities to get involved. These opportunities will range from social media initiatives to events, family activity suggestions, and ways to volunteer or support the work Second Harvest North Central Food Bank does every day.

Individuals who want to help spread the word and share our celebrity video with friends or to view the 30 Ways in 30 Days calendar, please visit the Hunger Action Month website at For more information, email

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Debt Ceiling Agreement

Late Sunday night, President Obama and Congressional leaders agreed to a deal to raise the debt ceiling, preventing the government from a potentially catastrophic credit default. The deal raises the debt ceiling through 2012 while making immediate cuts to discretionary spending and creating a special Joint Committee of Congress to propose a plan for further deficit reduction. The House and Senate passed the measure, and the president is expected to sign it on Tuesday afternoon.

While the potential consequences of an unprecedented government default would have been far more devastating for low-income Americans, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank along with Feeding America remains deeply concerned about the potential impact this deal would have on nutrition assistance and other safety-net programs.

Although much uncertainty remains, one thing is clear—the need to effectively communicate the importance of protecting federal nutrition programs is more important than ever.

As a result of the debt ceiling agreement, we will need everyone involved with hunger relief—food banks, clients, local agencies, the government, board members, donors, and partners—to help us carry our message.