Walz to highlight efforts to address hunger in Minnesota during COVID-19 pandemic

As Thanksgiving draws near, Gov. Tim Walz will highlight the need for food across the state amid COVID-19.

The discussion comes as food shelves struggle to meet demand. Wednesday morning, Walz will be packing emergency boxes, but he’s also going to be checking in to see how the state can help.

Most recently, what would have been the 50th annual food packing event at Cretin-Derham Hall High School has been canceled.

It’s been a tough year trying to balance the need and safety for volunteers.

That’s why, after 50 years, Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels is hitting the brakes.

Longtime Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels tradition canceled by pandemic

Normally this week, as many as 2,000 volunteers would fill Cretin-Derham to get the meals ready, but founders canceled to keep everyone safe.

"It’s so tragic because I know that we have to be safe but the people that are suffering and going without because of this,” co-founder Barb Aslesen said. “And Bill (Foussard) and I have just been two people who have cared.”

There is still work being done. Over the weekend, hundreds of families lined streets in north Minneapolis to get a box of food.

Second Harvest Heartland helped distribute 20,000 pounds of food.

While that sounds like a lot, at the event’s peak, there appeared to be more people and vehicles than boxes of food to dish out.

That’s why Wednesday, a day before Thanksgiving and the official start of the holiday season, Walz and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson are gauging how the state can best help as many families in need of food during this pandemic as possible.

Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and KSTP.com for updates.