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Food for poor overcomes shutdown

  • Article by: RANDY FURST
  • Star Tribune
  • July 4, 2011 - 7:49 PM

A program supplying tons of food to food shelves around Minnesota, suspended by the state government shutdown, was quickly restored after a hunger organization filed a plea with the state.

Colleen Moriarty, executive director of the nonprofit Hunger Solutions Minnesota, said she read on the website of the state Department of Human Services that "food commodity distribution to food shelves" was being halted during the shutdown.

Moriarty said that created "plenty of panic" among food shelf and food bank operators because the federally supported Emergency Food Assistance Program supplies 700,000 pounds of food to the state every 60 days, including ground beef and cereal.

Moriarty said her appeal Friday to special master Kathleen Blatz, the former state Supreme Court chief justice overseeing appeals of suspensions, noted her program's value to the poor.

A hearing on her appeal was scheduled for Tuesday. However, she said, word came over the weekend that the state decided to keep the program operating.

Moriarty said Monday that the suspension involved laying off one employee in the state's Office of Economic Opportunity at the Department of Human Services. She said that employee makes sure the food is properly stored and distributed to the state's food banks, which then distribute the goods to food shelves.

Hunger Solutions Minnesota is a statewide hunger relief agency that distributes money that comes from the state to the food shelves and does food support outreach work.

Randy Furst • 612-673-7382

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