Anti-hunger group on track to fill meal gap in Minn.by Julie Siple, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A coalition of nonprofits and corporations fighting hunger in Minnesota says it has contributed more than 36 million meals to those in need since its launch in 2011.
Judy Monn, a spokeswoman for Hunger-Free Minnesota, said the group is on track to fill what it calls the "meal gap" by 2015.
"Research has shown us that hungry Minnesotans miss a total of 100 million meals every year," Monn said. "So that has been our goal -- to add 100 million meals, sustainably, per year."
Monn said Hunger-Free Minnesota has added meals to the system by obtaining surplus produce from Minnesota farms and signing more eligible Minnesotans up for food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
"There were basically two rather underserved audiences from the standpoint that neither of them were very aware of the (SNAP) program and certainly didn't think that they qualified," Monn said. "And those two audiences were low-income seniors and people who were newly unemployed, who had just lost a job and were probably spending down a lot of their savings."
Next year, the coalition will work to increase participation in the federal school breakfast program and to identify unmet needs at a neighborhood level.
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