MOORHEAD — Food pantries' staff in Fargo-Moorhead report a 40% increase in demand during recent months, even up to 80% in rural communities.
To help serve those in need, the Dorothy Day Food Pantry on Main Avenue have extended its drive-through hours from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Starting July 18, the pantry is also adding open hours on Fridays.
Sue Koesterman, Churches United's executive director, highlighted many people pick-up items at the pantry for the first time, especially those who work in the restaurant service industry.
"We are so grateful to be a part of this generous community and the ways that the community supports our neighbors in need, through Church's United and it's missions as well as the other nonprofits in town," she said.
In an effort to practice social distancing, the Dorthy Day Food Pantry delivers food directly to houses and letting caseworkers pick up food.
But Koesterman isn't sure when the increased demand will end.
"The people who are impacted first by economic slowdowns are usually the last people to be called back," she said.
Minnesota changed requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility, and according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, 150,000 more families may qualify under the new guidelines.
Residents in Minneso need to apply before June 30 to receive benefits. People can apply online at applymn.dhs.mn.gov/online-app-web/spring/public.