The Food Group hosted our seventh annual Hunger Bash event on September 14. We filled the room with the spirit of giving and a shared concern about local hunger. I want to share with you the essence of my message that night so you can get a glimpse of what is on the horizon for The Food Group.
Hunger in Minnesota
Minnesota has seen over 3 million visits to food shelves for seven consecutive years. It’s not acceptable that in 2017, we broke a record for the number of food shelf visits when our unemployment rate is below four percent.
The cost of living has gone up, and wage increases have not kept up. Hunger involves multiple factors, but the root cause is poverty.
The Food Group is committed to equitable access to nutrition to strengthen communities.
The outcome we want is fewer people living with hunger and more people eating healthy, nutritious foods, because that strengthens communities in countless ways.
What does this mean in practice? First, we’re continuing to educate ourselves on equity issues. Second, we’re partnering with experts to reach out, convene, and listen to people experiencing food insecurity because we believe community-driven solutions are the most effective. Third, we need to invest in policy advocacy that tackles the root causes of hunger.
The need for hunger relief won’t be eradicated anytime soon. The work of sourcing and distributing nutritious foods remains at our core. It’s not only our foundation; we’re really good at it!
Our goal is to become less necessary as an emergency food bank, and more relevant as an agent for change. We are serious about getting off the treadmill when it comes to hunger. That is energizing for me, and I hope it is for you, too.
Thank you for your continued partnership in our mission and vision!
County cuts impact The Food Group
I want to share the recent news with you, as a trusted supporter of The Food Group.
Our contract with Hennepin County, which goes back 15 years, has been significantly cut due to an unforeseen situation where a court-ordered mandate dramatically altered the 2019 Health and Human Services budget. This action has affected all Hennepin County funded hunger agencies, including The Food Group. With very short notice prior to the end of our fiscal year, we had to make difficult decisions to accommodate funding losses. These cuts come at a time when the demand and need for our services continue to grow.
The hunger agencies have fully lived up to our promises to provide services. It is simply a situation where there aren’t enough resources to go around and the court ordered increased financial investment for another purpose that is desperately needed.
We need your support now more than ever as we continue our mission to nourish our community with nutritious, accessible food. We are rallying to manage the challenge, confident and grateful that we have a broad base of community support for our mission. Thank you for your continued commitment to our mission and for your partnership.