Second Harvest Heartland: Families Still Struggling ‘At Historic Rates’
Second Harvest Heartland, a large food bank in Brooklyn Park, received a sizable $5 million contribution from the state on Monday.
The food bank held a news conference with area leaders to announce the distribution. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said the funding will benefit food shelves across Minnesota.
“This is powerful, life changing work, and we cannot take keeping people’s bellies full for granted,” Flanagan said.
The $5 million comes from ARPA funds. Flanagan shared anecdotes about her childhood when her family struggled to make ends meet. She said now is a critical time to invest in food insecurity across the state.
Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead told the group that Minnesota had 5.5 million visits to food shelves in 2022. She said that number is projected to jump closer to 7 million this year.
Second Harvest Heartland CEO Allison O’Toole echoed those concerns. She said Second Harvest is on track to distribute nearly 130 million meals this year and the need has never been higher.
“Food prices, gas prices fluctuate,” O’Toole said. “A bunch of federal supports sunsetted earlier this year, and we are seeing the impacts of that. Families are still struggling at historic rates.”
Leaders say there’s no set date when the money will go out, but it will be “soon.”
This donation also comes after the food bank raised over $650,000 on Give to the Max Day, the most of any large organization in Minnesota.
O’Toole encouraged people to volunteer at and donate to local food shelves and pantries.