In the aftermath of the longest government shutdown in US history, food shelves across the country, including those in North Central Minnesota, are seeing an increase in need and lack of food on the shelves. Besides the layoff of thousands of federal employees, the biggest explanation for this increase is the early disbursement of SNAP benefits. This early disbursement has created a period of time of between 40 and 55 days between the receipt of February and March’s SNAP benefits. This lag time is especially problematic because we know that 90 percent of monthly SNAP benefits are typically spent within the first three weeks of a month. Once those benefits are gone individuals and families are turning to their local food shelf for help.
That is why this year’s Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign is so important. During March, Second Harvest will join together with their partner food shelves and participate in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign by collecting donations of money and food. This collection will support local efforts to help feed people in need and reduce hunger in the local community. When congregations, businesses, schools or service clubs participate in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, by donating to their local food shelf, their donation stays local but counts towards a statewide effort to help stock the shelves of every food shelf in the state. The food shelf’s share of the statewide campaign will be even greater the more they can raise locally.
On a daily basis, but especially during times like our recent government shutdown, there are individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. Having to choose between paying a utility, medical or automotive repair bill or putting food on the table is a reality for people in North Central Minnesota. Many will turn to their local food shelf to fill the gap during hard times. Local food shelves need help from the community to keep the shelves stocked to ensure there is enough food for struggling children, seniors and families.
The Food Shelves in North Central Minnesota serve approximately 14,800 individuals every month including over 5,200 children.
Each gift impacts people like Kim and Brandon, a young couple who says, “with utilities and grocery prices going up, we usually only have around $75 for over two weeks to get groceries with. We try our best, but it’s not enough unless we get help at the food shelf, too.”
Hunger does not know seasons. Hunger happens all year long. Every dollar received today will help your local food shelf reach its goal of providing food for thousands of meals for young struggling couples like Kim and Brandon.
Food shelves throughout North Central Minnesota are able to efficiently purchase food and stretch each dollar donated to fill even more shelves because of their partnership with us. The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign gives people an opportunity to make a difference in the local community by acting before March 31, 2019.