Our 2020 report (pdf)
It comes as no surprise that the number of food insecure Minnesota children spanning birth to 18 years of age skyrocketed in 2020. Across the state, 612,230 students from low-income households – some very new to such circumstances – qualified for free or reduced-price school meals through long-standing federal programs.
Since the COVID pandemic began, that is a 22 percent increase over the baseline of 500,000 food insecure kids, which is where Hunger Impact Partners (HIP) started our work to close the missing meal gap.
For Minnesotans, the pandemic exposed the fragility of some of their most relied upon hunger relief programs, such as federally funded school breakfasts and lunches, plus after-school and summer meals.
For many children, meals eaten at school are the only substantial meals they receive during the day. The ongoing global pandemic further illuminated the critical role school nutrition programs play in the lives of our students and communities. For decades, many of our children depended on these programs as their only source of balanced nutrition. Nearly overnight, the places that provided them were closed.
In the face of unprecedented crisis, our schools and communities remained undeterred and pivoted to overcome daunting barriers.
New delivery services
Rather than a focus on distinct meal programs provided in school buildings, “meal-bundling” and innovative new delivery services at new sites became the food access mechanisms of the moment.
Hunger Impact Partners, a nimble, responsive backbone organization, was right there with our valued partners in education, government, business and social services. We acted in ways I believe to be more relevant than ever.
With the goal of significantly reducing child hunger in Minnesota, we:
- Collected, shared and leveraged key datal
- Provided funding to support stop-gap solutionsl
- Shared newly minted best practicesl
- Re-deployed our trusted meal locator app
- Advocated for public policies The COVID-19 pandemic taught us