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At food banks, need is up, donations are down

Samantha Fields Jan 2, 2023
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“'Food shelf near me' is in the top 10 searches in our area," said Allison O’Toole at Minnesota's Second Harvest Heartland food bank. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At food banks, need is up, donations are down

Samantha Fields Jan 2, 2023
Heard on:
“'Food shelf near me' is in the top 10 searches in our area," said Allison O’Toole at Minnesota's Second Harvest Heartland food bank. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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Food banks are facing difficult math right now: Need is once again rising, but donations are declining.

It’s been one thing after another lately in South Florida: the pandemic, inflation, Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

“The holidays have been an extremely difficult time for our families, especially with food prices going up, with rent going up,” said Paco Vélez with Feeding South Florida. “The need has gone up. Another $5 here and another $10 there is pretty significant for our families.”

In Minnesota, Allison O’Toole at the Second Harvest Heartland food bank said the number of people going to food shelves is up by 40% or more.

“And we just learned from Google that ‘food shelf near me’ is in the top 10 searches in our area,” she said. “That has never happened before.”

But donations of both money and food are down, O’Toole said. “That’s especially true with protein donations, which is one of the most requested items at food shelves.”

With fewer food donations coming in, O’Toole said food banks are having to buy more of it. And — like the people they serve — they’re getting less for their money. 

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