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Region's food bank ends year with record distribution

Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, the region's only "food bank" and rescuer of nationally and regionally donated food for distribution to 140 non-profit programs throughout northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, ended the year distri...

Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, the region's only "food bank" and rescuer of nationally and regionally donated food for distribution to 140 non-profit programs throughout northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, ended the year distributing a record 2.98 million pounds of food - or enough food for 2.4 million meals (a 12 percent increase over 2007).

Specific to Carlton County, agencies received 41 percent more donated food than in 2007.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the outpouring of support we've received from our national and regional food and financial donors as well as our volunteers which allowed us to distribute this record amount of food," said Shaye Moris, the food bank's executive director. "It has been a challenging year. The economy has driven up demand for our food bank's product and at the same time we are struggling to complete a $1.6 million facility expansion.

Moris stated that use at area food shelves and soup kitchens - the organizations that depend on the food bank for their food - have experienced a 32 percent increase in demand. This increase has put even more pressure on the food bank to rescue more of its nationally and regionally donated food and complete its needed $1.6 million facility expansion.

"This project couldn't be happening at a more critical time," Moris stated. "The demand at our food shelves, soup kitchens and our own direct service programs are increasing at an alarming rate. When we complete our facility expansion we will be positioned to rescue 40 percent more food."

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Moris stated that to date the food bank has raised only 46 percent or $766,000 of the funds needed to complete its expansion. She said that most foundations have already been tapped for funding and she worries that corporations and individual donors feeling the pinch of the economy may not be able to contribute to the food bank's expansion project.

"Rescuing food is one of the most economical ways of feeding people in need in our region," she said. "People are really struggling right now in Carlton County and we don't see this trend changing anytime soon.

We hope that businesses and individuals will dig a little deeper in the coming months to help with this project.

It doesn't matter if people are able to give $5, $10, $25 or $5,000 - what's most important is that people give," Moris said.

For more information contact Shaye Moris, 218-727-5653 ext. 13 or 218-341-5620 or visit www.northernlakesfoodbank.org .

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