The Open Door Spring 2022 Newsletter
EMPTY BOWLS EVENT - OPEN DOOR PANTRY
We invite you to join us at The Open Door’s
13th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser!!
Community is at the heart of Empty Bowls. After a few difficult pandemic years, The Open Door is excited to bring this event back to Dakota County with new energy and a new location!
For a suggested $30 donation ($15 for kids), guests enjoy a simple meal of soup and bread and leave with a hand-crafted empty bowl as a reminder of those who are hungry in our community.
Get Tickets Now!
We’re hoping to re-energize this event with fun for the whole family in 2022! Join us for games, entertainment and great food.
The Empty Bowls Fundraiser is critical to The Open Door's hunger relief efforts. Your support will help bring fresh and healthy food to thousands in Dakota County.
THE OPEN DOOR - MARCH 2022
Greetings from The Open Door!
We appreciate your recent gift to help feed the hungry! "Normal life" has mostly resumed for many of us, but COVID-19 has dealt longer-term setbacks to single-parent families, mothers of young children, and low-income workers paying higher prices for essentials like rent, groceries and gas.
With your help, The Open Door has scaled up our services dramatically since the spring of 2020, doubling the number of people served monthly across Dakota County since 2019. We provide a variety of nutritious food items through programs like our fixed-site Eagan Pantry and Garden to Table, which recently added its 12th location and helps food-shelf clients grow their own fruits and vegetables,
Our food shelf does its work with 400 active volunteers each month, but we still need and welcome new ones, especially at the Eagan Pantry and to stock vehicles at our mobile distribution site in Apple Valley. To schedule a first-time volunteer shift at one of our pantries, go to https://theopendoorpantry.org/get-involved/volunteer/.
Thanks again for bringing healthy food and peace of mind to those in need.
Grocery and gas prices are soaring. You see it in the checkout line and in your monthly budget. For many families fighting to stay afloat inflation and supply chain issues mean empty cupboards and empty bellies.
This February our Executive Director, Jason Viana, caught up with Karishma Vanjani from Barron’s Online – Powered by Dow Jones to chat about the harsh reality of rising food costs in America.
At The Open Door the impact of rising prices has materialized in food expenditures more than doubling from a year ago and the amount of purchasing power declining by around half. On average, families took home a few pounds less food on each visit this January than they did last year due to the challenges in the global supply chain.
Check out the full story below.
US | February 12, 2022 · 02:36 pmOn a recent February morning, Joe Slater watched a line of people wrap around the large parking lot of Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis, in below-freezing temperatures.
Slater, chief financial officer of Indiana’s largest food bank, said up to 25% more people wait for food there than before the pandemic, and for roughly twice as long—anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours. The longer lines have come hand-in-hand with rising consumer prices: Inflation surged at a 7.5% annual pace in January, according to data released Thursday. The price of chicken, for instance, has jumped about 10% from just a year ago. “We are still trying to buy as much quantity [but] it’s forcing us to limit what we buy,” Slater said. “Everyone wants chicken breasts, but they are so expensive now, so we buy drumsticks and chicken legs.”
Soaring prices have increased demand at many food banks that supply staples to low-income families. To keep up with the growing need, Feeding America’s nationwide network of food banks purchased 58% more food in its 2021 fiscal year compared with the previous year.
Some organizations say they are struggling to afford certain items, especially meat, and can’t supply as much food to families as they did before the pandemic.
That means many of those consumers must reach into their wallets to buy the items they used to find at local community pantries—leaving them with less money to pay for other basic needs.
“With budgets already strained, [people] have told us clearly that less food during their visit has a real impact on their ability to make ends meet,” said Jason Viana, executive director at The Open Door Pantry in Eagan, Minn.
“Less food from us equals less likelihood they can both pay their rent and feed their family.”
The Open Door now serves about 14,000 people each month, double the number it served pre-pandemic. At the same time, it has had to reduce the number of meat and dairy items it can provide to families because of elevated costs.The rapid rise in food prices, in particular, has outpaced a number of other sectors. In January, grocery prices, which include cereals, milk, and bread, jumped 7.4% year over year.
Minnesota’s Second Harvest Heartland food bank is seeing the impact of inflation firsthand: It can no longer distribute free meat to its partner food pantries. Julie Vanhove, director of supply and demand planning, said the food bank had 40% less meat available in the last six months versus the same period a year ago.
Overall, Second Harvest’s food purchase prices were 9% higher in the last six months of 2021 from the year-ago period, but its supply to pantries was down 15%. Case in point: It has been paying $9,500 to bring in free apples and pears from the state of Washington. Last spring, “our average freight cost was $3,000 per truckload,” Vanhove said.
Similarly, the Food Bank for New York City now pays $51,000 for a truckload of peanut butter, roughly 80% more than it did in June 2019, according to the bank’s chief procurement officer, Bob Silvia. Rising transportation and packaging expenses play a big part in such increases: Feeding America says that freight costs to move donated food climbed more than 20% last month from a year ago for its food bank network.
The rise in food prices is disproportionately affecting low-income households because they spend a larger share of income on food, said Maurice Obstfeld, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.
The lowest 20% of earners spend 27% of their income on food, whereas the highest income quintile spends only 7% of income on food, Obstfeld said, citing 2020 data from the Agriculture Department.Nathan Sheets, Citi’s global chief economist, agrees. Lower-income consumers’ higher spending on food “is an iron law of economics,” he said. “It leaves them with fewer other financial reserves to absorb the rising costs.”
Food-insecure families and the pantries that help them might not get a reprieve from inflation any time soon, amid continued supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and robust demand. Sheets doesn’t see a significant improvement in the next six months.
“It may not be getting worse,” he says, “but it’ll also be far from normal food prices.”
For more information on how you can support The Open Door’s hunger relief efforts visit our “How to Give” page at https://theopendoorpantry.org/how-to-give/.
Thanks for reading!The Open Door Team
OPEN DOOR THANK YOU!
THE OPEN DOOR - UPDATE - DEC. 2021
THANK YOU FROM OPEN DOOR FOOD PANTRY
The support you provided us over the past year was as unprecedented as the pandemic we were facing. Just over a year ago, we came to you and asked for your help so we could continue providing food to those in need in our community. We knew we were preparing for the hunger crisis of a generation, and your response showed us we wouldn't have to do it alone.
This letter is to thank you for believing in our work and to give you a sense of the impact you have helped us make in our community over the past year.Your choice to invest in our mission, to trust our team and to believe in our clients gave us everything we needed to respond bigger and bolder. Your gifts gave our team the freedom to lean into their creativity and find new, safe ways to make more food available in more ways than ever before.
More than 60,000 times an individual or family came to The Open Door for food support in the last year and walked away with not only fresh food, but knowing that their community cared for them and would be there for them. That's more than double any year in our history!
"Thank you" doesn't begin to do our gratitude justice, so we hope when you look through this letter at the tremendous things you helped us accomplish, that you know the impact of your actions goes well beyond the confines of The Open Door. Your love and generosity resonates across Dakota County in stronger and healthier families. We know our work isn't done but with you on our side, we know we can ensure that fresh and healthy food will be available to thousands across Dakota County.
EMPTY BOWLS EVENT - OPEN DOOR PANTRY
We invite you to join us at The Open Door’s
Empty Bowls Drive-Thru event!
For a $30 contribution guests will drive-thru the parking lot at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church and receive delicious soup to-go from one of our restaurant partners, a Great Harvest dinner roll, and select a ceramic bowl from two design options.
Your attendance at this fundraising event will help support the 14,000 community members The Open Door provides healthy food support to each month – double the number of people served monthly prior to the pandemic.
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