March Food Shelf Campaign begins

By Ron Hinnenkamp, Guest Columnist 

The Morrison County Food Shelf in Little Falls, like every other food shelf in Minnesota, is participating in the annual March Food Shelf Campaign. The campaign, initiated by the Minneapolis Council of Churches, was designed to restock food shelves after being depleted following the busy holiday season.

Each year the Minneapolis Council collects funds from Minnesota corporations and challenges each food shelf in Minnesota to gather funds and food in their communities. We in Little Falls will receive a portion of the corporate funds based on how much we collect here in Morrison County.

I ask that each of you consider helping to rise above the levels of past years. The more we collect locally results in a greater match from the corporate donations.

You might think that as the economy improves the food shelf usage would not be as great. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are still many people unemployed and under-employed in our area.

From 2007 until 2011, families needing assistance from our local food shelf increased by 50 percent. Our expenses at the food shelf have increased by the same percentage. We have only been able to keep up with the increase because of the generosity of the people in the area.

Our food shelf is open three days per week and utilizes five to eight volunteers per day to restock shelves with an average of 2,690 pounds of food per day that we are open. Volunteers are needed to pick up and unload deliveries and to guide clients when they come for food.

Your donations of funds and food are much appreciated by those of us at the food shelf, but especially by our clients. You are giving them hope by helping provide in their time of need.

Someone asked, “Is it better to give food or cash?” That is a good question. While donations of food are always appreciated, we can use cash donations to purchase four to nine times as much food through Second Harvest, the central food bank. Your $10 donation would provide us with $50 – $75 worth of food at Second Harvest.

We have seen many area church groups, business employees groups, school classes and others start a drive to help out. The list goes on and on of people who have organized fundraising drives during March Food Share Month in past years. Please be a part of the effort this year.

If you have questions regarding Minnesota Food Share Month, or wish to donate money, food or time, please contact Gloria or Carol at (320) 632-8304. You can also visit our Web page at The Morrison County Food Shelf is located at 912 First Ave. S.W. in Little Falls.

On behalf of the Board of Directors at the food shelf, I want to offer special thanks to our staff, to all of our volunteers and to all who donate to make life better for those in need.

Ron Hinnenkamp is the president of the Morrison County Food Shelf Board in Little Falls.