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Non-profit Loaves and Fishes reports higher demand for free meals

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The nonprofit group Loaves and Fishes says it served more than 41,000 free meals in June. That's more than any other month in the organization's 32 year history. 

Most of the increased demand came from families with children at the organization's at 18 Minnesota locations, according to executive director Cathy Maes. In a typical month 25,000-30,000 meals are consumed.  

Summer is usually a busier time at community meal sites because children are out of school, but Maes said she thinks this year has been especially busy because her team spent more time promoting their program to school kids and crafting meals that are more appealing to them.

"I think once kids are comfortable coming to Loaves and Fishes, they think of us as a restaurant or a school cafeteria where good food is served, and they come back," she said. "We usually have an uptick in the summer, but this is unprecedented. To have the largest month ever in Loaves and Fishes history, in 32 years, is jaw-dropping really."

Two months ago Loaves and Fishes added new lunch sites in North Minneapolis, St. Paul, Hopkins and Crystal. It will expand into Eagan and Inver Grove Heights this fall. 

The nonprofit group Loaves and Fishes says June was a record-breaking month for its free meal program.