Hunger-Free Minnesota Awards Additional $600,000 in Grants

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Second round of Community Close-Up grant awards support collaboration, innovation and capacity building.

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Hunger Free Minnesota

A key benefit of the Community Close-Up analysis is that it allows us to identify communities and even neighborhoods with the highest concentration of missing meals statewide.

Hunger-Free Minnesota announced more than $600,000 in new Community Close-Up grants to organizations around the state fighting hunger in a program that has now distributed more than $1 million to support innovation and capacity building in 2013. Grants awarded range from $2,000-5,000 for initial planning grants to up to $50,000 for implementation grants. Grant recipients vary widely from community- and faith-based organizations to food banks, food shelves and outreach programs. A full list of grant award recipients is attached.

Focus areas for the grant awards are to support efforts to create the "Food Shelf of the Future," including strengthening the food shelf supply chain, to provide more effective distribution through mobile programs and to reach underserved communities or populations including children and seniors.

Examples of the newly awarded grants in action include cross-organization collaborations, mobile pantries, summer, after-school and weekend meal programs for school-aged children and programs that connect residents with not only food, but also other heath and wellness resources. Other grants will help increase the capacity for food shelves to take in perishables including fresh produce, an important nutrition source that needs different handling than traditional shelf-stable goods.

The Community Close-Up program started with a data analysis tool developed by The Boston Consulting Group with Hunger-Free Minnesota that uses data on food insecurity and missing meals to help communities target their efforts to combat hunger locally. Organizations receiving grants use the data to identify those who need help in their census tract service areas. The data also shows where resources are located and identifies both gaps and opportunities for coordination.

"A key benefit of the Community Close-Up analysis is that it allows us to identify communities and even neighborhoods with the highest concentration of missing meals statewide," said Ellie Lucas, Hunger-Free Minnesota’s Chief Campaign Officer. "50% of Minnesota’s missing meals are in the Twin Cities Metro area, but they are distributed unevenly in both the urban core and the suburbs. Meanwhile, about 40% of Minnesota’s missing meals are missed by rural residents. Our grants reflect a mix of local programs and community initiatives that taken together will improve the overall effectiveness of the state’s hunger relief system now and in the future."

The Community Close-Up data allows organizations to come together around a better understanding of their community’s meal gap and prioritize tactics accordingly.

The grant awards are made possible by generous contributions to Hunger-Free Minnesota from the General Mills Foundation, UnitedHealth Group and Cargill. For more information, visit http://hungerfreemn.org/grant-funding.

About Hunger-Free Minnesota
Hunger-Free Minnesota is a time-limited campaign to close the 100 million missing-meal gap in Minnesota. Among its partners and supporters are community leaders and citizens, nonprofit agencies and organizations, food banks, food shelves, and corporations. Research partners include The Boston Consulting Group and EnSearch, Inc. Hunger-Free Minnesota’s strategic action plan focuses on emergency food system capacity, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child hunger and nutrition. The campaign encourages individuals and organizations to "Fight Hunger Where You Live." More information is available at http://www.hungerfreemn.org.

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Christine Tsang
Henry Schafer
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