Jun 15, 2011 • By

Missing meals in Minnesota

A new approach to the problem of hunger is underway here in our home state of Minnesota. And I’m proud to report that General Mills is investing $1 million to support it.

It’s an approach that could prove to be a national model.

Hunger-Free Minnesota is a coalition of public and private partners with its sights set on adding 100 million meals annually for hungry adults and children in the state.

To hear the stories of Minnesotans who have turned to food shelves for help, watch this video.

The mission of Hunger-Free Minnesota outlines specific, high-impact initiatives that will expand existing programs and increase efficiencies within the emergency food system, the Minnesota Food Support Program and Child Nutrition Programs.

Hunger in Minnesota has doubled in the last five years, in both urban and rural areas. An estimated 956,000 low income Minnesotans miss 125 million meals every year, according to the 2009 Minnesota Missing Meals Unmet Food Needs Study.

The success of Hunger-Free Minnesota relies on a statewide network of diverse leaders to fight hunger locally and collaboratively. And its tactics range from tapping grocery stores and other venders for food that would otherwise be go uneaten, to signing up more eligible seniors for food support assistance, to a grant program designed to encourage other individuals and organizations to advance its mission.

“Hunger-Free Minnesota is also generating new dollars to help address issues of hunger throughout the state,” said Ellie Lucas, chief campaign officer, Hunger-Free Minnesota. “Our plan focuses on enhancing existing programs and executing innovative solutions to close the gap in missed meals.

Hunger-Free Minnesota’s starting line and goals are clearly defined, and its initiatives – which include a three-year goal of $20 million to support the first phase of the program – are quantifiable. It’s now seeking time, talents and/or financial donations of anyone willing to help.

You can hear more about Hunger-Free Minnesota from Ken Powell, our chairman and CEO, in this video clip.