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Thousands of Minnesotans To Start Thanksgiving by Helping the Hungry

PHOTO: Thousands of Minnesotans will walk the Mall of America on Thanksgiving morning to raise money for the hungry. Courtesy Hunger Solutions Minnesota.
PHOTO: Thousands of Minnesotans will walk the Mall of America on Thanksgiving morning to raise money for the hungry. Courtesy Hunger Solutions Minnesota.
November 13, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Before sitting down for that big turkey dinner next week, thousands of Minnesotans will head to the Mall of America in Bloomington for the fifth annual Walk to End Hunger. Lori Kratchmer, executive director of the Emergency FoodShelf Network, says the walk on Thanksgiving morning is a great way to give back before you give thanks.

"Everybody is sort of in that giving, thankful spirit. It takes several hours for that bird to cook, so throw it in the oven, grab your family and come out to the mall. The best thing is, too, that you can get some exercise and burn some calories before you sit down to that meal, and then maybe you feel a little less guilty about that second piece of pumpkin pie."

The fundraising goal for this year's Walk to End Hunger is $325,000.

Kratchmer says those who would like to donate or take part can find all the details online at www.WalkToEndHunger.org.

"It's $25 to register for the walk. Kids under 18 are free. And we'd like you to do some fundraising. Reach out to your personal and professional network and see if people will donate to you and your walk. You can form a team or you can be an individual walker, whatever you prefer."

While economic conditions in the state have been slowly improving, Kratchmer says the fallout from the Great Recession continues to be felt at food shelves across Minnesota, from the inner city to the small rural town.

"I wish I could sit here and tell you that things are getting better, but right now they're really not. When you look at our state, one in 10 Minnesotans is considered food insecure, which means they don't always know where their next meal is coming from. Most of us probably have someone in our circle who's dealing with hunger."

According to Hunger Solutions Minnesota, there were more than 3 million visits to food shelves in the state last year, and 40 percent of the people served are children.

More information is available at www.hungersolutions.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN