Hunger In Our Community
More People are Hungry
Even as the economy recovers, the number of visits to local food shelves has increased in recent years. Our hungry neighbors often tell us they’re working fewer hours or making less than before, while costs for everything from rent to food have gone up.
While these tough economic conditions are hard on many people, for seniors with fixed incomes and costly medical expenses, it can be a serious struggle. Seniors are now one of our fastest growing populations served.
The use of emergency food has been increasing the past year, mostly among seniors and single people. Sometimes people will come back and need more food even after their emergency pounds have been used.
Looking at the trends optimistically, we see continuing economic recovery, with more of our clients finding employment. Often the positions found are part-time and low paid, which requires our participants to continue using our services.
People Make Difficult Choices
No senior living on a fixed income should have to choose between buying food or medicine. But, we often see people in our region faced with tough choices between paying for food and other necessities throughout the year.
I only live on Social Security, after out-of-pocket medical expenses I don’t have much left over. I don’t do very much shopping and I stopped taking one of my medications because it was too expensive.
Some of the support I get is helpful, but I ask myself ‘do I put gas in my car or buy food?’ It’s a fifty-fifty deal.
More Food to More People
No one should have to make these tough choices. That’s why, with your support, we’re working every day to find simple ways to help stabilize lives.
And we’re feeding more people than ever before. In fiscal year 2015, Second Harvest Heartland helped provide 77 million meals to people struggling with hunger in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For the first time ever, we’re proud that fresh food—produce, meat, dairy and baked goods—made up more than half of the food we distributed.
How We’re Doing it:
- Accepting and distributing donations from our 90,000+ square feet of dry, refrigerator and freezer space
- Driving nearly half a million miles each year in our fleet of trucks, picking up and delivering to more than 1,000 partners
- Linking children, families, adults and seniors to publicly and privately funded food programs
- Leveraging data to proactively identify hunger needs and develop targeted strategies