In conjunction with hundreds of donors and volunteers, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank will help fill empty plates this holiday season. Second Harvest works all year to provide hunger relief to low income people in the region. During the holidays, families already struggling to put food on the table experience extra pressure to make ends meet. The Itasca Holiday Program has been helping these families for the past 18 years. This comprehensive program eliminates duplication of effort by multiple human service providers and engages the entire community to provide a brighter holiday season for friends and neighbors living with limited resources.
The special holiday food boxes are the primary focus of the Itasca Holiday Program. The boxes contain enough food for around five meals. Almost 1,800 food boxes, which include a bag of seasonal fruit and a grocery voucher, will be distributed to referred families, seniors and disabled adults at eight locations throughout Itasca County and Hill City during the week of December 17-21. In addition, children ages 1-12 in the households receiving a food box will be given a gift provided by toy donations through the Gingerbread Giving Trees and Toys for Tots in Itasca County.
The Itasca Holiday Program is in full effect. The program appeal is out, the Gingerbread Giving Trees are up, and referred families are currently signing up for the program by returning their completed form. The gratitude of the families is evident as they drop off their forms or send in messages and even holiday cards thanking Second Harvest for the food and expressing how little they would have for their children if it wasn’t for this program.
Many people, including children, are missing meals because their resources cannot stretch enough to cover their basic needs. More than 12% of the population in Itasca County lives in poverty and one in five children live in food insecure households. These are the people that our community wants to help, especially during the holidays.