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Minnesota Foodshelves Still Too Popular

February 15, 2007

An increasing number of Minnesotans are relying on foodshelves and food banks for their basic nutrition needs. Sue Kainz of Minnesota FoodShare is just back from a tour of some of the more than 300 free food disbursement locations around the state. In many communities, she says it's clear that times are hard.

"Foodshelves have been cutting back on the amounts of food that they're able to give the clients. They've had to cut back on the number of hours that they've been open. They've had to cut back on the number of times that people can come to visit them."

Kainz says the problem is not that donations are down, but that demand is up -- and the reasons are as simple as Economics 101.

"Loss of good-paying jobs, no overtime and medical bills. More and more people who come to the foodshelves have no medical insurance, or co-pays are too high. They just can't make it."

Increasingly, families who used to be food shelf donors now need the service themselves; some are two-income families. Kainz feels the needs will continue to grow until the underlying reasons for hunger in America are addressed. In the meantime, these organizations hope for a major restocking of their shelves during the annual March food drive. Donations, adds Kainz, are welcome anytime. Learn more online at www.MinnesotaFoodShare.org.

Jim Wishner/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - MN