Ad Spot

Other’s opinion: Feeding the hungry a priority as the economy struggles

The Free Press (Mankato)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

As many of us make another shopping list to get groceries, maybe making sure to hit the minimum purchase for curbside pickup popular during the pandemic, others will wonder how they will continue to eat at all.

The prediction from recent data is that many Minnesotans will see hunger by this fall in numbers and intensity not experienced since the Great Depression.

Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization, released a study done by consulting firm McKinsey and Co. that predicts an additional 275,000 Minnesotans will face food insecurity because of the hit the economy is taking during the COVID-19 pandemic. The price tag to food banks for that increased demand across the state is estimated at $21 million.

The extra federal unemployment benefit expires at the end of July, and Second Harvest is expecting a jump in food aid requests. Food shelves, already bustling before the pandemic, have noticed an increase in demand. That’s not going to fade anytime soon. Blue Earth and Nicollet counties are considered among the 25 most food insecure counties in Minnesota.

Complicating the situation is that some of the traditional community fundraisers and drives to benefit food shelves have been canceled because of the pandemic, including the in-person collection normally held during the popular St. Peter Old-Fashioned Fourth of July and North Mankato Fun Days parades.

So often it is the children that suffer the most when it comes to food shortages. Growing bodies and developing brains need nutritious meals to keep them on track. Programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and the Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, or WIC, need additional support during this trying time as well as meal programs that feed children and the elderly year-round.

Food deserts also continue to be a problem, especially for those with limited transportation, such as many of the stranded international students in our community during the pandemic.

State and federal lawmakers need to do all that they can to make sure government benefits for the hungry are beefed up during this economic crisis. Their constituents need to make the rallying cry for the hungry loud and clear.

And, as always, those who have plenty should consider giving to those who don’t by donating to area food shelves and nonprofits that support the hungry. Most are set up to take online monetary donations, which actually stretches their food supply power because they can buy needed goods through a food bank.

The pandemic and all its repercussions will be with us a long time. The hungry can’t put off eating.

Mower County

MDH reports 6 new COVID-19 cases in Mower County

News

Minn. congressional hopefuls stress their farm bona fides

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Man charged with breaking into apartment, holding woman hostage

News

1.2 million seek jobless aid after $600 federal check ends

Business

Hy-Vee stores now accept SNAP/EBT as payment for grocery pick-up orders

Health

MDH reports 4 new COVID-19 cases in Mower County

News

World responds to Lebanon’s plight, France’s Macron to visit

Local Government

Mayor candidate Q&A: Making Austin a welcoming community

Mower County

County board allocates CARES Act funds

Mower County

A change of seasons

Local Government

Council aiming for four percent tax levy increase

News

Minneapolis mayor: City seeks right mentors for new officers

Local Government

Council prioritizes Hormel Foundation grant requests

Local Government

Council looking to add more land to city deer hunt

Mower County

Friends of the Public Library hosting virtual costume contest

News

Voters sue Walz to block face masks at Minnesota polls

News

Some critics see sexism in debate over Biden VP

News

2020 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunt Opener postponed

Mower County

3 new COVID-19 cases brings cases to 1,084

News

‘A line in the sand’: Both sides dig in on virus relief bill

Mower County

Zonta International commemorated World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Mower County

‘Karl’s Tourney’ is on with an online fundraiser

Health

Weekend sees 17 COVID-19 case increase in Mower County

News

Virus relief bill remains up in air as negotiations resume