Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk highlighted the issue of hunger Tuesday at a fundraiser for Arrowhead food shelves.
The two paired up to help raise money for food shelves in northeastern Minnesota, which have seen a 24 percent increase in visits since last year. Also in attendance, lending support was Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.
Some of that need is among older Minnesotans, Bakk said.
"The Range, like most rural communities, is a very gray population," Bakk said. "Many of the communities that I represent are 50 percent retirees. And they're people that retired without big pensions."
Food shelf directors report they are seeing more retirees than in past. Organizers of the fundraiser expected to raise at least $60,000. It was the fifth annual fundraiser for Arrowhead food shelves.
Hunger remains an acute problem in Minnesota, Dayton said. The governor appeared at the same fundraiser last December, and said things haven't improved much since then for Minnesota's most needy.
"The economy has improved a little bit, but for people that are in desperate straights, I don't think it's improved very much," Dayton said. "We still have almost 200,000 people in Minnesota out of work, and there's a lot of misery out there. We haven't made anywhere near as much progress we need to."
The governor said he'd still like to see rich Minnesotans pay higher taxes so that the state can take care of those in need.