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Trees of Hope: Providing Help in Food Deserts

Created: December 16, 2019 09:41 AM

For most people getting their next meal is just a quick drive to the local grocery store, but for others it's not that easy.  

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"There's typically a high population of low income participants who can't access food that's affordable and healthy in their local area," Shaye Moris, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank's Executive Director, said. 

That area is called a food desert. 

"Because we encompass that eight county region around Lake Superior, we see a lot of rural areas where access is very limited," Moris said. 

It can also happen when a community loses it's only grocery story, like in Cook, when Zup's burned down, leaving families to travel about 25 miles for food.  That's when Second Harvest steps in and provides a helping hand.

"In that time frame, there was more assistance needed at that local food shelf, so we will reach out and say what is needed, how can we help?" Moris said. 

When a local grocery store in Iron County closed a few years ago, Second Harvest became a sole resource for people in need of food.

"We aligned with extension in Iron County and community volunteers and started a mobile food pantry program," Moris said.   "Access to food resources is really limited in that county, so thank goodness we're able to provide that food to those people in need."

Their work's not done.  Second Harvest continues to work find other areas in need where they can make a difference.

"It's a good example of what we recently did in the Cloquet area, which is invite the community in, people affected by those low food resources, community members, to say, 'What would be helpful to your community and how can Second Harvest either itself or through other partners help fill that gap?'"

In filling that gap, it will hopefully someday end hunger in the Northland. 

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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