Governor Walz Signs Bill to Provide $5 Million to Food Shelves Across Minnesota to Help Meet Increased Need

ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz signed into law a critical piece of legislation that will provide immediate relief to food shelves across Minnesota. This bill will provide $5 million in emergency funds to the Minnesota Food Shelf Program, a program that provides financial grants to food shelves that participate in Minnesota’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). 

Legislation was expedited through the state legislature, passing unanimously in the House in early February and passing on a 60-7 vote in the Senate on Feb. 27. 

“I’m proud that we’ve taken action to meet the need and make sure Minnesotans can put food on their tables,” said Senator Erin Maye Quade, chief author of the Senate bill. “This law will keep students, families, and individuals fed and prevent hard choices between buying groceries or paying for housing costs, medical care, or other essential needs.”

“This funding will keep families fed and keep food shelves afloat,” said Representative Heather Keeler, chief author of the House bill. “In a year with more food shelf visits than any year on record, I’m grateful to my colleagues and to Governor Walz for their swift action to get this foundational need met.”

“Food shelves were one of the first places people turned to when their COVID relief aid ended and food costs soared, but food shelves aren’t immune to inflation either. It’s been very difficult for food shelves to keep their shelves stocked with enough food to meet the demand,” said Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota. “The last of the pandemic relief programs—Emergency SNAP (E-SNAP)—came to an end on March 1, causing additional worry for food shelves across the state. Once households lose that benefit, they’ll rely even more heavily on their local food shelf for help.”

“This emergency funding will make an immediate impact for those we serve,” said Dom Korbel, executive director of Community Pathways of Steele County. “The very day we receive the funding, it will begin being used to increase our food purchasing and restock our shelves to better meet our growing need.”

Food shelf visits increased by 2 million visits from 2021 to 2022, causing strain on food shelves across the state at a time when food prices were at an all-time high. Inflation, coupled with the end of COVID-19 relief programs set in place in 2020, led to Minnesotans making 5.5 million visits to their food shelves last year. 

These funds will be expediated through the Department of Human Services to Hunger Solutions Minnesota for distribution. Food shelves receiving the grant can use the funds to purchase food, pay for personnel, or purchase needed equipment to help them meet all the needs of the communities they serve. 


Senator Erin Maye Quade represents Senate District 56 which includes Apple Valley, Eagan, and Rosemount. She is vice chair of the Education Policy Committee, and serves on the Education Finance Committee, Human Services Committee, and the State and Local Government and Veterans Committee.
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