EDITORIAL: Food shelves need your help more than ever

·2 min read

Jun. 15—Everyone has felt the pressure in recent months as inflation, coupled with food supply chain problems, have not just led to more empty spaces on grocery shelves but forced food prices to soar.

The high price of food comes as gas prices close in on the $5 per gallon and other daily staples have risen in cost.

The pressures are causing more people to use food shelves, including ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato, where they are seeing double the demand they had previously. Many food shelves in area communities told The Free Press their demand has jumped.

The higher demand is understandable. People are going to pay their rent or mortgage and put gas in their car to get to work and pay their child care bill, meaning many have to skimp on food.

The problem is hitting food shelves across the state, MPR News reports.

Some food shelves have resorted to rearranging shelves to make it appear there is more food available than there really is. The sleight of hand is done to give that look of abundance because they don't want people to worry that there isn't enough food.

But in fact, there really isn't enough and demand is likely to increase, not slow in the year ahead.

Allison O'Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, said the pressure of the food supply could mean we are headed into "what could be the hungriest summer in history."

Government support and private donations of food and money increased at the start of the pandemic but both have now trailed off.

Food shelves want the Minnesota Legislature to approve $23 million from the state's budget surplus to help food shelves.

But government alone won't be able to close the gap.

If you can afford to help, food shelves are a good place to donate to. While food donations are always welcome, food shelves are best helped with monetary donations because they are able to purchase food at a discounted rate from their suppliers.

While a majority of people have gotten back to a normal way of life, many of their neighbors are still struggling and likely will continue to do so.