There are demographic statistics:
There are health and welfare effects:
But who are they, really?
Here are some of their stories.
In articles, video and photos, you will be introduced to real people who know what real hunger is. This is what Hunger-Free Minnesota is all about.
At age 73, Mary has experienced many positives in her life. She married, raised three children and had a 40-year career as a dental hygienist. "I was the breadwinner," she proudly exclaims.
But Mary also has had difficulties. Her husband suffered from mental health issues, was frequently absent and they eventually divorced. Her 401 (k), which she worked hard to fund, was drained by his medical treatment and expenses.
Thanks to community support of her local food bank, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank in Duluth, Mary now receives a monthly supply of nutritious food as part of its Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS). With this, she is now able to make ends meet. She is one of more than 850 Northland seniors fed by Second Harvest Northern Lakes.
"It is a godsend," she says. "It is a gift that allows me to have nutritious foods. I'm grateful."
Julie is a mother of four struggling through the hardest times of her life. The father of her children recently passed away. She had to quit school to take care of the family. She lost her house and then her job. In her time of need, her local Second Harvest Heartland member agency has been a vital part of her life.
"Im so glad the food shelf is there," she says. "It helps to be able to know that you are able to put a meal on the table and that your kids won't have to go hungry."
While the money she saves by shopping her local food shelf has made it possible for Julie to secure a new place to live and consider going back to school, the peace of mind she receives knowing that her children aren"t going to go hungry is perhaps the most valuable aid of all.
"It helps you to not have to worry about putting food on your table," she says. "But also the money that you would have used for food, you are able to use for your rent, or the phone bill, or gas for your car, or transportation to get to where you need to go, to be able to be productive and earn a living wage."
Despite her recent hardships, Julie has maintained a positive outlook on life, due in large part to the good works she sees done at the food shelves in the Second Harvest Heartland network in St. Paul. She wishes everyone would follow the examples set by these programs.
"I just want to thank all the people who help our communities and our children," she says. "Because there's no reason why children should have to go to bed hungry at night. This is America. There's no reason at all."