Hunger takes no holiday but we can keep it at bay
By: Don Leighton and Shaye Moris, Superior Telegram
Hunger Takes No Holiday III runs Feb. 2 through April 9.
Over the past two years, your contributions to the cause have provided more than 100,000 meals in Superior and Douglas County.
Shaye Moris, executive director of Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, is firmly in our corner with her years of wisdom and expertise in helping those families who need us. Lance and Billy are proud to turn over the rest of the article to her. She has sobering statistics and information.
Shaye does an incredible job helping thousands each year through her efforts.
Please, help us help her continue to help those in need. Continue to read the Telegram for more information on how you can help. Thank you.
Use at Superior and Douglas County food shelves has never been higher. Since the economic downturn in 2008, many have experienced double-digit increases in the number of people served. Recent statistics show 44,159 people call Superior and Douglas County their home; 13.3 percent live in a household that’s “food insecure.” This means there isn’t enough food in the household to feed all family members during all meals. What’s more startling is 25.4 percent of the county’s children are food insecure.
I have a special place in my heart for Superior and Douglas County: I was born and raised here, went to school here and still consider it my home. It’s probably why I find Don Leighton’s “Hunger Takes No Holiday” campaign so important. Here’s a guy with a love for his county, willing to stop at nothing to make sure its residents are fed.
I guess we have a lot in common.
I often say hunger is a growing problem but a solvable one. I say this because Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank takes a logical approach to ending hunger. Our food bank rescues nationally and regionally donated food, that might otherwise end up in a landfill, and provides it to Superior and Douglas County non-profit agency partners and people in need.
When national manufacturers like General Mills produce too many boxes of cereal, when there are surplus crops nationwide, when Superior’s Essentia Health has extra meals at the hospital, or when Super One has a surplus in its deli, meat, produce or dairy department, we’re able to rescue this food.
USDA estimates 27 percent of the food produced in the United States never makes it to our dinner table, ending up thrown away as waste.
If we can rescue even a small percent of this usable food, Second Harvest will have a large impact on Superior and Douglas County. Just this year, we’ve rescued and distributed 358,195 pounds of this food for local residents or enough food for 286,556 meals — that’s a 58 percent increase since 2008.
Once collected our food bank works with 11 nonprofit agency partners. Our Food Rescue Program picks up food from grocery stores, hospitals, schools and restaurants, and delivers it to Superior Salvation Army and Boys & Girls Club. Staff select food from our truck as if it were a grocery store on wheels.
Faith United Methodist Church and Rural Care and Share Food Shelf in Poplar, receive a “shopping list,” select products, and we deliver them to their door.
In Gordon, my hometown, we bring a monthly truckload of food to the food shelf. As program participants exit, they come to our truck to get extra items like fresh produce, meat and dairy or baked goods.
Second Harvest also fills the backpacks for the Nutrition on Weekend Backpack Program for children in-need on weekends.
Food shelves report that 94 percent of the food distributed to their program participants comes from our food bank. We provide a critical service to Superior and Douglas County nonprofit agencies and people in need.
As Capt. Rosemary Mattson, Superior Salvation Army, once stated: “This program has made a tremendous difference in our food shelf and in the lives of those less fortunate who utilize our services. There are many times if not for this program (Second Harvest) we wouldn’t have been able to have a food shelf due to lack of food.”
The food rescued by Second Harvest is free. Our only cost is transportation, storage and handling from donor to recipient. That’s why for just $1 donated, we can rescue and distribute $10 worth of food or enough food for five meals. Although we are able to recoup a small handling fee from our partner agencies, 80 percent of the cost of providing this service to Superior and Douglas County comes from our fundraising.
That’s why your support of “Hunger Takes No Holiday” is so important to our work. For just $1, $5, or even $25 donated you can have large impact on Superior and Douglas County residents in need.