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Hunger report shows food shelf use up sharply in 2008

A new report on hunger in Minnesota says there were more than 2 million visits to Minnesota food shelves in 2008 and more than 300,000 state residents now using food stamps.

It says the economic downturn is straining family budgets at the same time food costs are rising. The report says  “food insecurity” is felt by 10 percent of Minnesota’s population.

The group Hunger Solutions Minnesota released the report “Keeping Food on the Table”, which looks at food shelf usage, federal commodities, suburban trends and other factors contributing to the rising issue of hunger in Minnesota.

It notes that food shelves and other emergency food programs are under pressure to meet the unusual demand for food assistance from middle-class families suffering from unemployment, underemployment, home foreclosure, food cost inflation and other financial strains.

Visits to food shelves in the state were up 15 percent in 2008 from the previous year, the group says, with an even larger increase – 19 percent — for senior citizens.

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