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Economic Data has State Food Shelves Bracing for Possible Record Demand

October 13, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Food shelves across the state could be headed into their toughest winter ever, as the nation's economic woes continue. The director of Minnesota FoodShare, Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer, says two recent reports raise concerns. One shows a large drop in charitable giving.

"Individual donations, for example, fell by 11 percent from 2008 to 2009, and as far as I understand they are still dropping. That's going to have a huge effect."

On top of that, she says, new figures from the Census Bureau show that in the two years since the recession officially ended in the U.S., the median household income, when adjusted for inflation, has fallen nearly 7 percent.

"This has a huge effect on families who are trying to raise their kids and who are trying to make it. They need help with food. And if food shelves are struggling right now and their numbers are up, they need our help even more."

In addition to working families trying to make ends meet, the number of unemployed Minnesotans is currently at more than 215,000, and Nelson-Pallmeyer says many of them cannot regularly put dinner on the table on their own.

"Unfortunately, need continues to go up. I spoke with folks from two different food shelves this morning. One said food shelf usage was 100-percent increased from last year to this year. Another one said it was about a 25-percent increase."

Local food shelf information, including places where donations may be made locally, is available at the Minnesota FoodShare website, http://mnfoodshare.gmcc.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN