Low-income Minnesotans skip more than 125 million meals a year

Low-income Minnesotans miss 125 million meals every year — the equivalent of no dinner for two weeks every month for those in need — according to a study released today by Second Harvest Heartland.

“We are heartbroken by the findings we uncovered with our Missing Meals report,” said Rob Zeaske, executive director of Second Harvest Heartland. “Despite our best efforts and the best efforts of those who have joined in the fight to end hunger, an unprecedented number of Minnesotans are missing an unprecedented number of meals. Truthfully, the number is far larger than we could have possibly imagined.”

The report, available here, breaks down hunger by counties: Among the seven counties in the metro area, low-income residents of Carver County miss the most meals annually at 1.09 million (14.27 percent). Anoka — 3.90 million meals missed (10.24 percent); Dakota — 4.53 million meals missed (11.72 percent); Hennepin —13.6 million meals missed (6.12 percent); Ramsey—13.28 million meals missed (10.45 percent); Scott—908,000 meals missed (9.54 percent); Washington—2.28 million meals missed (12.24 percent).

The good news to come out of today’s report: Second Harvest Heartland accepted one of its largest single corporate food donations from Target, which donated 600,000 pounds of nonperishable food items to the food bank in support of Minnesota FoodShare’s March Campaign.

Second Harvest Heartland said that by 2017, it plans to double its capacity to distribute 80 million pounds of food each year to the needy.

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