Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank hit a record in meal distributions in 2019 with 5.1 million meals provided.

The food bank serves approximately 44,000 people in need through northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, including St. Louis, Carlton, Lake and Douglas counties.

In a news release, Executive Director Shaye Moris called the record "bittersweet."

“On one hand, we’re extremely proud of the work our donors, volunteers and agency partners helped us accomplish," Shaye said. "On the other end, we haven’t ended hunger in our region.”

Included in the record-breaking number of meals, the food bank distributed another record breaker of 1.76 million pounds of fresh produce, the news release stated. The food bank also engaged more volunteer hours than ever before with more than 16,000 hours recorded. That's the equivalent of 7.73 full-time positions.

The Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank provides its services through food shelves, on-site meal programs, backpack programs, mobile pantry programs and the Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors around the Northland.