Creativity and Capacity Growth Help Meet Rising Food Assistance Needs
Minneapolis, (January 4, 2012) Hunger-Free Minnesota (www.hungerfreemn.org) announced that its six food bank partners across the state increased their total deliveries of food by 42 percent over a three-year period. The six large Feeding America food banks delivered a total of 61.3 million pounds of food in 2010 to food shelves, food pantries and other food service agencies, compared with 43.1 million pounds in 2008. This data was compiled by EnSearch, Inc., with the support of Hunger Solutions and the six regional Feeding America food banks that are part of the Hunger-Free Minnesota coalition.
“Clearly, the food banks in Minnesota have done an exceptional job of increasing their capacity in the face of rising demand,” said Ellie Lucas, chief campaign officer of Hunger-Free Minnesota. “However, the food banks also need more resources to continue at this level. Data compiled for Hunger-Free Minnesota shows that there are children and adults who are regularly missing meals in every county of the state. As a coalition, we urge people to fight hunger where they live and to donate to local food banks.”
Data compiled by Hunger-Free Minnesota also shows that food banks have become a larger percentage of the sourced food for all food shelves and food-serving agencies. At the North Country Food Bank, Inc., in Crookston, food distribution increased by 79 percent. This year, the food bank opened a new food shelf in Crookston to provide a more convenient location for many in need. North Country Food Bank delivers to more than 150 direct food service locations but some are not open every day. Lack of transportation is often a barrier for those in poverty who can’t travel long distances.
Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul and Channel One, Inc., in Rochester are two of the food banks that have expanded distribution to increase access and to reach those who may never go to a food shelf. They are delivering food to food shelves and food pantries, but also distribute food to their School Pantry and Summer Food Service Programs, which provide food to children during non-school hours. Second Harvest Heartland also delivers to other food banks in the state, leveraging its significant purchasing power, large storage facilities and well-developed transportation and logistics systems.
Shaye Moris, Executive Director of Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, said the food bank in Duluth has worked hard to increase food rescue at institutions and grocery retailers. “When school systems or retailers have lower-than-expected demand, it’s critical that we’re ready to immediately pick up that excess food. We then redistribute it safely to help those who really need food assistance. It’s so important that we don’t waste fresh food when so many families and adults are going without meals in our state,” said Moris.
The Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank has added a new refrigerated truck designated for a large statewide food retailer capable of large-volume donations. The food bank has also expanded its warehouse significantly through a grant for increased capacity. It also leverages scarce resources by using the normally empty backhaul route of a local trucking company that makes regular deliveries to the Twin Cities.
“These are some examples of the ingenuity our partner food banks employed in increasing their abilities to meet the needs of hungry Minnesotans,” Lucas added.
Hunger-Free Minnesota is coalition of community leaders and citizens, nonprofit agencies, food banks, food shelves and corporate partners including Hormel Foods, General Mills, Cargill, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and others. The coalition encourages individuals and organizations to “Fight Hunger Where You Live.”
More information on how to get involved in fighting hunger can be found at the website http://www.hungerfreemn.com/.
Data compiled by Dr. Stacey Stockdill, EnSearch, Inc., for Hunger-Free Minnesota from data provided by Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank and Hunger Solutions.
http://www.hungerfreemn.org/news/media-center (Localized food bank data)
Minnesota’s Feeding America Food Banks:
Channel One, Inc., Rochester http://www.channel-one.org/
Great Plains Food Bank, Fargo-Moorhead http://www.lssnd.org/greatplainsfoodbank
North Country Food Bank, Crookston http://northcountryfoodbank.org/ Second Harvest Heartland, Twin Cities http://www.2harvest.org
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Grand Rapids http://secondharvestncfb.com/
Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, Duluth http://www.northernlakesfoodbank.org/