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Channel One Food Bank reflects on prevalent food insecurity

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Channel One Regional Food Bank is seeing a large influx of first-time visitors.

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Food insecurity is a high concern across the region as inflation has brought challenges to more and more community members.

A growing problem with food insecurity is the broadening demographic that needs to be served, and that it is affecting more people that did not struggle with this issue prior to the turbulent economy we have been seeing over the last year.

Rochester's Channel One Regional Food Bank is experiencing challenges of its own as a result.

At Channel One, manufacturing donations dropped 60% over the last year, and government COVID relief funds were cut in half.

Equally as troubling is the 33% increase in food needs among its visitors.

"Food insecurity is so hidden," shared Jessica Sund, director of development and communications at Channel One Regional Food Bank. "There are people among us everyday that are fighting with where they're going to get their next meal, or how they're going to afford their next grocery bill."

Food banks like Channel One are making sacrifices that are unprecedented in order to accommodate for a historic amount of purchases from donated funds to compensate for the decrease in aid from manufacturers and legislators.

Part of this involves reductions of inventory and placing temporary limits of items that are of high cost in order to continue to help serving their increasingly growing 

"So many of our friends and neighbors, and really everyone in America, could be a $500 emergency away from needing food assistance," Sund said. "A medical bill, a car crash. There are so many people that are so close to that line of being okay, and all of the sudden needing help."

Channel One will host a fundraiser at its warehouse this April called "Epicure: One Bite at a Time" to bring awareness to food insecurity and how accessing healthy food helps build up the health of the community.

Former Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy and his wife Patricia have long been proponents for building the health of the community, and they will be the honorary co-chairs of the Epicure fundraiser.

To learn more about the upcoming fundraiser, visit the food bank website.

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