Northland food shelf use hit record level in DecemberThe number of people who used Northland food shelves hit a record level in December according to the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.
By: Duluth News Tribune Staff, Superior Telegram
The number of people who used Northland food shelves hit a record level in December according to the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.
The consortium of 35 food banks across Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin reported 20,178 people were served in December, the highest in any month and nearly double the 10,945 people served in December 2008.
The number has increased even as the national and regional economies have slowly improved over the past few years after the peak of the recession from 2007 into 2009.
"Our food bank and our region's food shelves are experiencing use that they have never experienced before," Shaye Moris, Second Harvest's executive director, said in a news release. "It is putting greater demand on our nonprofit agencies, which of course means that we need more food and funds to meet this increased demand."
Moris said food shelf increased 19.5 percent from 2011 to 2012, with an additional 3,304 people needing assistance. Use by seniors increased 26 percent last year, while the number of children getting food shelf assistance went down 5 percent.
More than 300 Minnesota food shelves will kick off a major fundraising campaign Friday with matching money available to boost individual donations.
Over the past year Second Harvest distributed 4.7 million pounds of food, enough food for 3.7 million meals. Much of it was "rescued' food from businesses that might otherwise have been thrown out.