By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This holiday season, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the things we have to be thankful for, such as having a Thanksgiving meal to put on the table.

However, one in eight Minnesotans don’t have that luxury this year. More staggering still is that one in five children in Minnesota don’t know where their next meal will come from, as many are at home due to distance learning and don’t have access to school lunches.

While the state’s nonprofits are working to bridge that gap, government officials are calling on Minnesotans to help support those who are hungry this holiday. At a press conference Wednesday in Brooklyn Park, Gov. Tim Walz and Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson urged Minnesotans to give to Second Harvest Heartland, a food back that works with nonprofits in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Just $1 pays for three Thanksgiving meals.

Second Harvest Heartland CEO Allison O’Toole says the need for food has spiked this year, as thousands have lost work and armies of volunteers can’t gather to help pack and distribute resources. Still, she says the hunger relief network is strong in Minnesota, as there are hundreds of food shelves across the state that are working daily to provide help to those in need.

Earlier this week, the governor and Republican lawmakers released details on a proposal that would help businesses and families struggling during the pandemic. During Wednesday’s news conference, Walz told reporters that he’s optimistic a bipartisan agreement on a relief package will be reached by next week.

Christiane Cordero