Older Minnesotans Increasingly Need Help from Food Shelves
Monday, February 8, 2021
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. -- Food shelves across Minnesota are seeing much more demand from older residents, according to newly released hunger data for the region.
But advocates say food insecurity in this age group was already trending higher before the pandemic.
The group Hunger Solutions Minnesota said there were more than 3.8 million visits to food shelves around the state in 2020. That's a more than 6% increase over 2019.
Officials acknowledged the pandemic presented challenges to many individuals.
Colleen Moriarty, executive director for Hunger Solutions, said that was especially the case for seniors.
"During COVID, if you had a compromising medical condition, or you had transportation issues, that a food shelf was a very good avenue of response for healthy and nutritious food," Moriarty explained.
The report showed there was a 31% increase in food shelf visits by seniors.
But Moriarty noted in the wake of the Great Recession, there was continued demand among seniors, and she anticipated that will continue.
Advocates say because Minnesota has a robust response system, it was able to adapt and meet a lot of hunger needs during the pandemic, including meals for children.
The findings showed rural parts of Minnesota saw some of the biggest spikes in food shelf visits among older residents.
Elizabeth Koehl, outreach director for Prairie Five Community Action in the west-central region, said when COVID shut down meal sites, they began calling seniors and offering frozen meals and boxes of food supplies.
"And we were really able to identify the senior hunger in our communities, and really try to tackle some of those barriers that do exist," Koehl commented.
With the help of state and federal resources, Prairie Five purchased trucks to deliver these meals during the crisis. The group hoped that kind of outreach might take away some of the stigma, while adding seniors are sometimes reluctant to accept donations.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
California's medical aid-in-dying law is back in court. Three patients with disabilities and two doctors are asking to intervene in a lawsuit …
A new federal jobs program aims to mobilize tens of thousands of young Americans to address the growing threats of climate change. The American …
Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago says its student body and campus are growing - and so are its options for people to study in STEM fields…
Health and Wellness
By Nathalia Teixeira for Kent State News Lab.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration…
Maine's new Office of Affordable Health Care holds its first public hearing this week, and people are being strongly encouraged to participate…
The number of children locked behind bars in Alabama has declined, but their advocates said more needs to be done to create alternatives to …
This coming Saturday, North Dakotans will get a chance to see how election workers go to great lengths to ensure a safe and secure voting process…
Scientists at Purdue University have been experimenting to create adhesives designed to be easier on the environment. So many products from …