Lakes Area Food Shelf expects to see double the number of individuals in 2022
Service numbers through June 2022 already exceed the numbers from all of 2021
PEQUOT LAKES — Lakes Area Food Shelf numbers show unprecedented growth in need in 2022.
Just under 5,000 individuals (4,962) came to the LAFS for supplemental and emergency food assistance through June 2022. The spike is one of the more stunning developments in the pantry’s 42-year history, as only 4,657 individuals came through LAFS in all of 2021, a news release said.
The growing need means food shelf leaders project they may serve as many as 10,000 by the end of the year.
“We’re all one surprise incident away from not having enough for food.”
“We’re all one surprise incident away from not having enough for food,” LAFS Director Kathy Adams said in the news release. “Continuing pandemic adjustments combined with rising costs of groceries, housing and gas means our friends and neighbors often are short on cash.”
LAFS noted the growing number of families who are food insecure. At least 1,500 families came to the food shelf through June, nearly triple the 2021 number.
“Rent has jumped between 30% and 50% for these working families,” Adams said. “They’re being forced to choose between having shelter or going hungry.”
LAFS stocks their small, grocery-store-like food shelf on Patriot Avenue with a variety of nutritional foods, buying food from Second Harvest Food Bank in Grand Rapids and Shaefer’s Foods in Nisswa.
The food shelf also sources through food rescue with Cub Foods, Pequot Lakes Supervalu, Country Hearth and Schaefer’s Foods. Fresh produce comes from Brakstad Farms outside of Pequot Lakes.
Despite discounted prices, rising costs and higher demand mean the amount needed to stock the shelves keeps increasing.
“We rely almost exclusively on donations to help our friends and neighbors.”
“We’re now spending nearly $15,000 a month to keep pace. That’s up from $10,000,” LAFS Board of Directors Chairman Tim Moore said in the news release. “We’re seeing families, grandparents raising grandkids, people with disabilities and individuals working multiple jobs. Thirty-one percent of those coming here are children and 20% are seniors.”
LAFS’ 31st annual Nisswa Christmas Home Tour will be Oct. 20-22. Tickets are $40 per person. Tour participants are shuttled to two private homes elaborately decorated for the holidays. Upon return to Nisswa, they can get a meal at one of the town’s restaurants and shop at the stores.
“We rely almost exclusively on donations to help our friends and neighbors,” Adams said. “With the need growing in 2022, buying a ticket to the Nisswa Christmas Home Tour is very much appreciated. We also encourage direct contributions through our website, lakesareafoodshelf.org/donate.”
Proceeds from the home tour go directly to Lakes Area Food Shelf. Tickets and additional information are available at www.lafshometour.com.