Five nonprofits providing food to low-income Hennepin County residents currently receive $1.1 million dollars from county funding. But county leaders have proposed phasing out this funding and reducing aid by $282,000 before it’s eliminated completely in subsequent years.
East Side Neighborhood Services, says deliveries will be drastically scaled back next year if Hennepin County cuts a third of its funding. Other nonprofits, including Loaves & Fishes will also be forced to make cuts. Loaves & Fishes Executive Director Cathy Maes said, “We are all serving more people than ever, so for Hennepin County to cut us is unconscionable.”
Loaves & Fishes is a Minneapolis nonprofit that provides free meals to people at 17 Hennepin County churches and other public dining sites. “It’s thousands of people who are going to go to school hungry, to work hungry. We’ve devastated by it.”
After 20 years of county aid, the county dropped her funding by $20,000 this year, so she pared down her staffing. She’s planning to close one or two of the meal sites in 2020 due to the proposed cut.
The County Board will vote in December on its proposed $2.5 billion budget. It already approved a property tax levy increase of up to 4.75%, citing a need to fund child protection, personnel expenses and improvements to service centers.