The COVID-19 Hunger Surge

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Feeding America, and our own McKinsey & Company-created projections suggests that COVID-19 has undone a decade’s worth of progress in the hunger fight, with a record number of Minnesotans now facing hunger.

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 11 Minnesotans struggled to afford food. Now, 1 in 8 Minnesotans face hunger.

Now, 1 in 8 Minnesotans face hunger

The data suggests that in addition to those who faced hunger before the pandemic, 275,000 Minnesotans—including 112,000 kids—are already or will soon face hunger, bringing the total number of people living with hunger to 735,000.

270,000 Minnesotans and 112,000 kids are now facing hunger

In Second Harvest Heartland's 59 county service area, 595,000 people already or will soon face hunger.

595,000 people already or will soon face hunger in the Second Harvest Heartland service area.

Stark racial disparities in who is hungry have deepened since the pandemic began. In Minnesota, this means that Black, Latinx, and Indigenous families now experience food insecurity at more than two times the rate of white Minnesotans, with Black Minnesotans facing the worst disparities in consistent access to food.

In Minnesota, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous families now experience food insecurity at more than two times the rate of white Minnesotans

Since the pandemic began, we’ve delivered 30% more food to our food shelf partners, who have seen a 60% increase in the number of people served since March.

Second Harvest Heartland has experienced a 30% increase in demand

Our response plan

Together with our food shelf and meal site partners, we’ve distributed 80 million meals since the crisis began, but we can’t keep up this fight alone. We need our elected officials, our corporate partners, and our donors, volunteers and advocates to ensure hunger remains critical to COVID response and recovery.

Here's how we’re responding to keep hunger at bay:

RAISE FUNDS to help meet the additonal cost of feeding the newly hungry for the duration of the pandemic. ADVOCATE for state support to help food banks and food shelves meet the need and for investments in nutrition programs like SNAP to feed more people. ADAPT the ways we deliver food to reach every community safely, so that we reach people with little to no contact. EDUCATE THE COMMUNITY to share information and destigmatize food support.

Everyone can help

  • Make a donation today. Help fund free emergency grocery pop-ups, food boxes, and more. A monthly gift of $30 can provide 1,080 meals per year.
  • Make it okay to ask for help. Talk about hunger and destigmatize the need for food assistance. Get help at
  • Business leaders can help. Ensure a thriving future economy by investing in and partnering with Second Harvest Heartland today.
  • Join the Minnesota Central Kitchen network to donate meals to MealConnect or provide hot meals where they’re needed. Learn more.

Together, we can solve COVID-era hunger

New hunger projections will be available quarterly; check back to track our progress in the fight to keep everyone well and fed during these difficult times.

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