St. Paul MN—(July 5, 2012)— Today, Hunger Solutions and Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless announce the launch of the third Annual Food Shelf $100,000 Challenge Grant. This provides matching supplemental dollars to food shelves’ fundraising activities in July. Minnesota food shelves raised over $1,000,000 last year with this grant and hope to outpace that this year. Over 150 Minnesota food shelves are participating in the challenge this month.
Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless believes this approach to hunger alleviation is effective because it brings communities together to solve a growing concern across Minnesota. The $100,000 Challenge will power a statewide initiative that leverages Open Your Heart funding to bring additional dollars to food shelves and increase awareness of child hunger during the summer. For 25 years Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless has targeted millions of dollars to strategically fight hunger in Minnesota. Open Your Heart funds the purchase and transfer of more than one million pounds of fresh produce, meat and dairy products every year through Hunger Solutions Minnesota.
Arna Yetter, Executive Director of Open Your Heart said, “Too many kids in Minnesota have to worry about where their lunch will come from once school is out. Open Your Heart is committed to making sure all of our kids get enough to eat this summer, and we hope people across the state will join us.”
Each year, when school ends, and summer vacation approaches, low-income families across Minnesota wonder how they will be able to provide enough food for their children. Over 250,000 students are at-risk for hunger during the summer because they do not have access to free meals at school. To fill the summer hunger gap facing these children, parents turn to Minnesota food shelves to supplement their groceries. Minnesota food shelves face a steep uptick in demand, especially for child friendly food. Summer is also the time when financial and food donations decrease.
Minnesota has over 300 food shelves to serve people in all counties. Between April 2011 and March 2012, there were 1.3 million child visits to these food shelves. That reflects a 9% increase over the same time the previous year. In the summer (June, July and August) of 2011, there were 327,059 child visits to food shelves. That is a 10% increase over the summer of 2010.
Colleen Moriarty, Executive Director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, said “I am concerned about low-income families this summer. The food shelves need a financial boost so they are able to meet this stepped-up demand to have additional child-friendly grocery items available.”
ABOUT HUNGER SOLUTIONS MINNESOTA
Hunger Solutions Minnesota is a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota. We take action to assure food security for all Minnesotans by supporting agencies that provide food to those in need, advancing sound public policy, and guiding grassroots advocacy. more information
ABOUT OPEN YOUR HEART TO THE HUNGRY AND HOMELESS
Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless has 25 years of experience as the only grant provider in Minnesota focused solely on alleviating hunger and homelessness. Open Your Heart helps food and shelter providers of all sizes get the resources they need to serve more people, including mattresses, freezers, fresh produce and roof repairs. They also support homeless students by providing school supplies, activity fees, gym shoes, tutoring materials and other essentials that help them engage fully in school. For more information