REGIONAL — Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank is permanently waiving fees for the nationally and regionally donated food it provides to the 75 northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin food shelves, soup kitchens, shelters, and the other nonprofit agency partners it supplies as the region’s only food. bank.
This announcement comes at a time when demand has increased beyond pandemic levels and when communities like Virginia, Hibbing, Chisolm, and Mountain Iron need the food bank the most.
“We’re seeing a 32 percent increase at our region’s food shelves,” shared Shaye Morris, executive director of Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. “We made our decision to waive fees to ensure our region’s nonprofit partners could be as generous as possible to those facing hunger in their local communities. So many of our neighbors have been impacted by the pandemic, economic impacts of inflation, and a high cost of living recently that we felt it an important time to make this decision.”
Although often confused with a food shelf (which the food bank does operate), Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank is the region’s only food bank supplying nonprofit programs with nationally and regionally donated food and non-food items. Prior to their decision, agency partners paid an average $.02 per pound fee to share Second
Harvest’s cost of food acquisition, storage, and distribution.
“You’re our primary source of food,” said Karl Oberstar, manager of Quad City Food Shelf in Mountain Iron, one of Second Harvest’s largest partners. “Without you, there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t get fed up here.”
In Iron Range communities, over 1.7 million pounds of food have been provided by Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank over the last year. This food has an estimated value of $3.3 million, but agencies will no longer pay to access it, with the exception of a nominal delivery fee.
Each year, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank provides over 6.5 million pounds of product to the 75 nonprofit agencies and 135 programs it serves throughout the Minnesota counties of St. Louis, Carlton, Lake, and Cook and the Wisconsin counties of Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron.
Throughout the US, there are just over 200 Feeding America™ food banks like Second Harvest serving specific geographic regions. Together, these food banks distribute over 5 billion pounds of food through 60,000 food shelves and other programs reaching 38 million Americans.
For more information about Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, call 218-727-5653, email [email protected], or visit www.northernlakesfoodbank.org.