NEW HOPE, Minn. (WCCO) — Christmas came early for a Twin Cities food bank struggling to keep up with the growing number of hungry families this holiday season.
The Emergency Foodshelf Network in New Hope stocks and serves more than 230 food pantries in Minnesota.
“We are running leaner than we have probably run in years,” said Executive Director Lori Kratchmer, who says this year donations are down at least 20 percent. “Across all suburbs around the metro area so, it’s really broad, the need, and it continues to be greater and greater.”
But Wednesday, a Christmas miracle arrived in a plain white envelope. Up front, administrative assistant Carol Deters opens up the mail. She just had a hunch.
“I said, I just love these mysterious envelopes because you never know what little goody you are going to find on the inside. And we opened it up and it was a check for $40,000,” Deters said.
Deters says $40,000 can purchase 37,600 meals.
“I was just so excited and we were running around and yelling, needed it,” she said.
There was no note, and when the staff tried to call the person whose name was on the check, the number was unlisted. The donor wanted to remain anonymous.
“I think I’d be lying if I said we weren’t jumping up and high fiving after receiving such a generous gift like that,” said Kratchmer. “So we put our faith in the community and they really come through for us.”
A new report out this week shows many Minnesotans are still struggling this holiday season.
Hunger Solutions Minnesota says currently the number of people visiting emergency food shelves is up 62 percent since the economy crashed in 2008.
That’s 1-in-5 families going hungry over the holidays and all year long. In September of 2010, Minnesota had 454,513 people enrolled in food support programs, which is a 66-percent increase since September of 2008.
The Emergency Foodshelf Network staff says like many food banks and food pantries all across Minnesota, they still need donations.
They can buy more food with cash donations, but also accept donations from food drives. Visit their website for more information.
WCCO-TV’s Lindsey Seavert Reports