Combating food insecurity during the pandemic

A man puts cans of beans into cardboard boxes.
Anthony Wright, right, and Valerie Kuhlman, left, pack emergency meal kits during a volunteer shift and Second Harvest Heartland in Brooklyn Park, Minn., on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Evan Frost | MPR News

As the state's unemployment rates have increased, so have the number of Minnesotans struggling to put food on their tables.

Before the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout, about 10 percent of Minnesota households were food insecure. But advocates say that number has drastically grown in the past few months.

How are food shelves and other programs across the state stepping up to help? What is the long-term concerns if these needs continue?


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Allison O’Toole is CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, which is Minnesota’s largest food bank, serving more than 500,000 people each year. 

Sophia Lenarz-Coy is the executive director at The Food Group, a New Hope-based nonprofit focused on fighting hunger and nourishing the community with culturally relevant food.

Oballa Oballa is the president of LeadMN, a statewide student association that advocates on behalf of about 180,000 community and technical college students.

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