More Minnesotans visited food shelves in 2020 than any year on record - and the need is expected through 2021
December 23, 2020
Food shelves and meal programs across Minnesota fear a COVID-triggered hunger crisis will remain at record levels through 2021 - a "new normal" of need. But the state appears to have flattened the hunger curve, avoiding bleak forecasts from earlier this year.
New data show food shelves are on pace to end 2020 with a record 3.75 million visits - nearly 1.5 million more than in 2008 during the recession, according to Hunger Solutions, a statewide advocacy group. The number of visitors to food shelves during the Great Recession doubled and never bounced back to prerecession levels, so nonprofits now worry about sustaining the food needed for the higher demand far into 2021, even if the virus threat ends.
"There's no end to the need," said Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions, adding that it took most families 21 months after the recession to get back on their feet after job losses. "The economic conditions of the pandemic are going to continue for a while."