March Food Shelf Drive has reached the critical stage

An important thing to understand about the Great Recession is that it doesn’t magically disappear just because the government says it’s over or because jobless claims go down. The reality is that a number of families are still in need.

One place that need becomes overwhelmingly obvious is at the Morrison County Food Shelf. In Little Falls, the Food Shelf gives out somewhere between 1 and 1.5 tons of food every day it is open — and it is currently open three days per week.

Since the recession began in 2007, the number of families being served per month right here has gone up 45.8 percent. The Food Shelf’s monthly expenses have gone up 50 percent.

And still, even though the experts claim the recession is easing, there has been no let up in need locally.

March is Food Shelf Campaign Month. Initiated by the Minnesota Council of Churches, the campaign seeks donations from large corporations, and then pro-rates the funds to local food shelves throughout the state.

What that means locally, is that the more we give, the more we can leverage to receive back from Second Harvest, the central food bank in Minnesota which organizes and allocates distributions to local food shelves statewide.

This year, the Morrison County Food Shelf set a goal to raise $50,000 in March after running behind in January and February. As of Thursday, it had raised $19,000. Many local churches, employee groups and charitable organizations are holding their own drives, and a surge is expected as the  end of the month draws near.

Will it be enough? It’s hard to say, but are you willing to risk having your friends and neighbors go hungry? Some days, more than 40 families come to the local food shelf.

The most important thing to remember is that even a $10 donation can be leveraged this month through the state food share drive to bring $50 to $75 worth of food to the local Food Shelf.

Food shelves are located in Pierz and Motley as well as Little Falls. You can drop off a donation of food or a personal care product at any of them, or you can mail a check. In Little Falls, the Morrison County Food Shelf is located at 912 First Ave. S.W.

Don’t delay. It is critically important that the Morrison County Food Shelf achieve its March goal.

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