ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- The need is up while donations are down for many Minnesota charities. One Twin Cities non-profit that fights childhood hunger has had to make tough cuts impacting children's access to food on weekends -- and during their holiday break.
Every Meal is making a call for help before the year is up. This month, the Twin Cities non-profit Every served it's 10 millionth meal to a Minnesota kid in need. But founder and president Rob Williams' mind is on those he couldn't help.
"I know when I'm home with my kids over winter break, I know they're going to get food," Williams said. "I'm going to know that we weren't able to serve the kids that we were planning."
Demand for the regular weekend meal program is skyrocketing as costs for food do the same. Every Meal had to cancel its winter break program which would have provided 135,000 take home meals to kids dealing with food insecurity while out of school for as long as three weeks.
"We didn't have enough money to buy the food. It's $250,000 of food," said Williams.
Williams says they were projecting a 17% increase in need for the regular program but received a 34% jump in requests for help across 500 schools. Cuts then had to be made.
"We have 71 schools on the waitlist this year that we had served last year. Just because we don't have enough money to buy the food to be able to serve those kids," said Williams.
Donations from the community are critical as Every Meal operates without any government funding or grants, and relies on many volunteers like Becky Stever.
"I know that there are kids at my own daughter's school that are probably getting these meal bags. And I know there are more that are on the waiting list for Every Meal that they just don't have the capacity and the funds and the volunteers to fill those needs yet," Stever said.
With the end of the year fast approaching, Every Meal has a goal of raising $1 million. That's enough to provide 750,000 meals to Minnesota children in need during the weekends. Williams feels like now is the time for people to step up and help.
"It's sort of a moment for us to say what are we going to do about it? You know, are we going to stand up and say these kids are all of our kids? The kids in our community. We're all responsible for them," said Williams.
for more features.