Helping those without food, homes as pandemic drags on 

People at a table of donations
Kari Heckt (second from left) hands out food items at a community-organized donation giveaway across from Elliot Park in Minneapolis.
Courtney Perry for MPR News file

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed cracks in many societal structures — including housing and food banks. Families that have never relied on food assistance before are reaching out to get aid. And for those with housing insecurity, the pandemic has made things worse while also increasing the number of people struggling to pay rent.

Nonprofits have been combatting the effects of the pandemic since March, and we’re checking in to see how things are going. As temperatures drop, how are food banks and shelters preparing for what comes next?


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

  • Cathy ten Broeke is the state’s director to prevent and end homelessness and the executive director of the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness.

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