ST. PAUL, Minn. – On Thursday, the Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony on legislation to provide $5 million in emergency funding for food shelf programs (SF 71). Chief author Senator Erin Maye Quade (DFL-Apple Valley) testified in support of the bill alongside two leaders at Minnesota food shelves.
“Food shelf visits across Minnesota are up more than any year on record… and in some cases food shelves are having to limit the food they’re giving out,” said Senator Maye Quade. “They’re definitely seeing folks they have never seen before, so we know that there’s emergency funding that’s needed to help with this huge increase.”
“As the pandemic [support] programs peeled off, people had one alternative, and that was a visit to a food shelf,” said Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions. “I’ve been in my position for 18 years and I’ve never seen this kind of demand on food shelves. We’re readying ourselves for the emergency SNAP benefits to roll off now in March… If we can hardly keep up now and we have this looming pressure in front of us, we need your assistance.”
“The need is escalating right in front of us,” said Dom Korbel, executive director of Community Pathways of Steele County, a support network in Owatonna that has seen demand for its services more than double since 2021. “What we’re experiencing with food insecurity right now is not a metro challenge or an Owatonna challenge. It is a Minnesota challenge that requires Minnesota partnerships and Minnesota solutions… We’re reaching out saying support this bill, help us meet this demand in the short term, while we can work on the longer-term solutions.”
The committee referred SF 71 to the Finance Committee on a voice vote.
The attached photo should be credited to Community Pathways of Steele County, Inc.