Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, our communities have adopted a number of strategies to make sure that people are fed. For example, here at Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, we established weekly food distribution events designed to meet the nutritional needs or our Head Start and Early Head Start children. We have continued in this mission by partnering with The Journey School’s USDA approved Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
Likewise, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have partnered on the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, which as subsequently been extended and expanded. Additional initiatives, including one that enables households that receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to purchase groceries online for safe and secure home delivery. Nonetheless, COVID-19 continues to present a number of challenges, not only for food insecure Minnesotans, but for producers and distributors of our food supply.
The State of Minnesota currently maintains a dedicated food support webpage that details vital information from DHS and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Likewise, Hunger Solutions Minnesota hosts an interactive and updateable map detailing where families and children can access free meals during the current pandemic.
Second Harvest Heartland also provides Minnesota households help in finding immediate food support via food shelves and meal programs, as well as assistance accessing programs such as SNAP, SFSP, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for low-income seniors (60 years of age or older).
Moreover, Second Harvest Heartland offers the opportunity to others to help provide urgently need food to our fellow residents. As food shelves have already been overwhelmed by the generosity of Minnesotans and pounds upon pounds of food donations, many of them do not possess the “cold storage or transportation capacity” that necessary to deliver all of the food that they’ve received. Therefore, Second Harvest Heartland asks that those who are able to help to “please consider a financial gift to your local food shelf” or to Second Harvest Heartland itself so that these groups can better select and manage the food items that they need in their respective communities.
And, now, as the result of its new “guaranteed match” partnership with the Bentson Foundation, a one-time gift of only $25 can help provide as many as 75 meals to Minnesotans in need.