Two area food agencies awarded grantsTwo Harbors Food Shelf and Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank each received a $5,000 planning grant from Hunger-Free Minnesota for their work feeding the hungry in their area.
By: Sarah Alabsi, Duluth Budgeteer News
Two Harbors Food Shelf and Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank each received a $5,000 planning grant from Hunger-Free Minnesota for their work feeding the hungry in their area.
The two agencies applied to Community Close-Up, an initiative by Hunger-Free which uses census data analysis to help decide on and provide funding to groups fighting hunger on a local level.
Community Close-Up is built upon analysis that Hunger-Free Minnesota did in conjunction with Boston Consulting Group. Using data collection methodology developed by Feeding America, Community Close-Up uses the data to estimate food security around Minnesota.
Northern Minnesota is relatively more food-insecure than central or southern Minnesota, said David Dayhoff, director of Partnership Engagement & Advocacy at Hunger-Free Minnesota.
“We want to use that information to support certain communities with grants to work on trying to close the missing-meal gap in their area,” Dayhoff told the Budgeteer.
Hunger-Free Minnesota is not, however, just another charity food initiative. It does not accept food or monetary donations from non-corporate offerers. This is to make sure that Community Close-Up is not in competition with food banks or food shelves.
The initiative, started in June 2011 with a specific business plan, is set to end in the beginning of 2015, according to Dayhoff.
The decision on which groups would get the grant money was made by the grant committee at Hunger-Free Minnesota in the spring after the February application deadline.
Being a coalition of food banks and groups such as United Way and Hunger Solutions, Hunger-Free brought that same variety to the committee. The grant subcommittee even includes representatives from the UnitedHealth Group and General Mills, said Dayhoff, who is chair of the committee.
“You think of always trying to fight hunger, but the analysis we used actually gave us a way to quantify what it would look like to end hunger,” said Dayhoff.
Dayhoff and representatives from various other food agencies attended the statewide Food Access Summit Aug. 13-15 at the DECC to discuss issues of food policy and ideas to improve healthy food access to underserved Minnesotans.