Announcing 16 Cents A Meal: Solving Duluth Hunger, “One Meal At A Time”

Duluth, Minnesota has several locations (seats) where the hungry are fed. Combined, about 600 hungry people are served daily. Men, women, children, Latinos, Native Americans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, caucasians, gays, straights, republicans, democrats, agnostics, Buddhists, teenagers, steampunks, goths, emos, hipsters, hockey players, you name it. Of course, that list is not complete by any means. The Duluth area is a bit more brutal than most because of our winters.

Hunger cuts a wide and devastating path across every walk of life and social segment.

The average cost of food per meal per person varies from seat to seat.  Some providers report higher costs and others, lower. When we heard one administrator say it costs $.16 a meal, we were flattened. OMG! Crunch the numbers. That’s $96 per meal citywide, $288 per day, approximately $2,016 a week, and $104,832 annually, for a total of 655,200 meals. Wow. This is the math of human lives.


We began to think, “How would we keep track of meals covered, because in the meals per day metaphor, it’s incredibly cheap to feed everybody.” Our minds turned to creating a online fundraising “calendar,” built on the concept of covering each day, all three meals, across the soup kitchens and food shelves in the Duluth area. That tool will be released next month as a gift to the Duluth Community from AIMCLEAR.


16 Cents A Meal
16 Cents A Meal is challenge campaign to feed hungry people in Minnesota, starting in Duluth. For the size of our community, it is ambitious. The goal is both to feed hungry people and raise awareness.


Once the website is live, we’ll ask community members to contribute by paying for meals, to whatever extent they’re interested and able. For example, a contributor can donate “Friday dinners for 6 months in one location.” That costs $384. Other examples are “every breakfast citywide” ($35,040) and “one week per year in single location” ($2,016). Contributors can choose the seat and the contribution amount. Meals are “covered” on the calendar at the actual cost per meal per seat. Progress will be tracked on a public calendar, clearly illustrating day-by-day coverage.


We believe explaining the issue to our business peers framed as contributing “meals per day” at $.16 and the associated analogies are a very compelling message. Once the site is launched consider contributing at as high a level as possible, and join with our community to solve hunger in Minnesota. We’ll post back here when the tool is released. Enjoy your dinner.

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