DULUTH - Northland food shelf use has reached record heights. According to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank who collects regional statistics from its 35 member food shelves, use peaked at 20,178 people served per month as of December 2012. Contrast that to 2008 when the economy was in a better place and only 10,945 people per month utilized NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin food shelf.
That's a 92% increase in use in just four years.
"Our food bank and our region's food shelves are experiencing use that they have never experienced before," said Shaye Moris, Second Harvest's Executive Director. "It is putting greater demand on our non-profit agencies which of course means that we need more food and funds to meet this increased demand."
On March 1, 2013, Minnesota FoodShare's 31st Annual Campaign to raise food and funds for Minnesota food shelves will begin.
The campaign offers a unique opportunity to garner additional support through matching funds for Minnesota's 300+ food shelves – including 24 right here in NE Minnesota during the month of March.
The 16th Annual $1 Million Giveaway to Fight Hunger, made possible by Alan Shawn Feinstein, is a national campaign to raise matching funds for the nation's food shelves – including those in Wisconsin - and runs from March 1 through April 30, 2013.
Neither campaign offers a dollar-for-dollar match but both are valuable to the work of the region's food shelves.
"Both campaigns offer an opportunity for the generosity of our donors to be matched," Moris said. "People want to have impact and they can, especially at a time when we are seeing record demand."
Food shelf use has increased 19.5% in the last year (between 2011 and 2012), that's an additional 3,304 people needing assistance.
Use by seniors has increased 26% during this same time however use among children declined 5%.
"At our Hermantown Area Food Shelf, here at Second Harvest, we hear the stories. The stories of seniors who just can't make it on their fixed incomes. We see mothers who come in with small children in tears because they don't want to ask for help," Moris said. "People are struggling and we hope our Northland neighbors are willing and able to help."
For more information, (218) 727-5653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org