Metro Meals on Wheels estimates 400% increase in demand amid pandemic, holidays

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Senator Amy Klobuchar is rallying support for nonprofits in the midst of a growing hunger crisis in the state.

“As much as people mourn that we don’t have the same Thanksgiving as usual, we have to remember there’s a bunch of people out there who are hungry and are having issues getting food,” Sen. Klobuchar said Monday.

Amid the pandemic, demand for Meals on Wheels - a nonprofit helping to deliver low-cost meals to seniors and those with disabilities - has increased substantially. The organization expects demand to increase by about 400%.

“We’re really seeing this all over the country, and it was one of the reasons that we passed that very important CARES Act legislation early on in the pandemic as an emergency measure," Klobuchar said.

But with CARES Act funding set to expire at the end of the December, some nonprofits say they are in critical need of additional federal support.

Patrick Rowan, Executive Director for Meals on Wheels, said they are now faced with many challenging questions.

“Do we have to cut people off? Do we continue to serve people and potentially run out of funds and potentially have to close Meals on Wheels?” 

Klobuchar said that in a pandemic economy, nearly one and eight households don't have enough food, and food shelves are seeing an uptick in first -time visitors.

“I’m just hopeful that people see we can’t wait until Joe Biden becomes president to get that pandemic relief package, and the administration has signaled in the past that they know we need another package through Secretary Mnuchin, and that’s our goal,” she said. 

This past spring, the senator introduced the Work Now Act. If approved, the bill would create a $50 billion grant program to help nonprofits retain their employees, scale delivery service and provide new jobs.