Summer is a hard time for food shelves

Second Harvest warehouse
The Second Harvest food bank warehouse.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Demand is up and donations are down at Minnesota food shelves, according to an organization that distributes food donations to community food shelves in the state.

Heidi Stennes of Second Harvest Heartland says some area food shelves are experiencing a 20 percent increase in demand. She says summer is always a time of greater need because children are out of school.

"So many kids that normally get that reduced-cost or free lunch and breakfast at school aren't getting those meals in the summer months," said Stennes. "So summer is a time of increased demand, but we're seeing an even higher demand, and more people than usual coming into the food shelves to get the food that they need."

Stennes says some families are coming to food shelves because that's one of the few areas where they can cut back on spending.

"They have to pay the mortgage or rent. That's not flexible. They have to have gas in their car in order to get to their jobs," said Stennes. "But the food item tends to be the one item that they can be flexible with, and foodshelves is the resource they're going to to feed their families."

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