Renew Mobile Food Shelf Funding
In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $2 million in mobile food shelf funding. This funding, distributed under a contract with Hunger Solutions Minnesota through a competitive grant selection process, funded 35 grants to mobile food shelves across Minnesota. These funds helped food shelves start or expand their mobile food shelf programs.
The funding was incredibly successful at helping food shelves reach people that experience barriers to accessing traditional brick-and-mortar food shelves. Mobile food shelf grantees distributed over 3 million pounds of food to over 190,000 individuals. 40% of the people served were seniors.
These are people who would not otherwise be able to make it to a food shelf due to health, mobility, or transportation barriers. Folks who are homebound or do not have a car, and don’t have the means to carry grocery bags on a bus are able to access the food they need.
This grant helped some food shelves purchase and retrofit vehicles to distribute the food; others were able to expand their service by adding many more delivery sites; in one case a food shelf closed one of its physical locations to serve people only by mobile delivery in that area.
We’ve heard from over 20 organizations that are interested in starting or expanding mobile food shelves, and so we know there is still a need for funding for mobile food shelf programs. We are seeking renewed food shelf funding from the Legislature. This bill (HF 1660) would help food shelves reach these people by appropriating $500,000 per year for new programs and $500,000 per year to sustain existing programs.
Renewing the grant means we can reach many more Minnesotans who struggle with hunger throughout the state and alleviate hunger for seniors and others experiencing barriers in getting to a traditional food shelf.