By Ron Hinnenkamp, Guest Columnist
“Growing numbers of corporate executives are aware of the inextricable link between the well-being of our families and the well-being of our nation. Nowhere is this link manifest so strongly as with the problem of hunger.”
— Arnold Hiatt, chair of the Stride Rite Foundation
Each March, Minnesota FoodShare conducts the March Campaign aimed at replenishing over 300 food shelves across Minnesota. With the help of people in communities throughout the state, those food shelves are able to continue to assist those in need at a local level. The drive is unique in that every dollar given goes to local food shelves.
According to a Gallup survey, one in eight Minnesotans indicated there were times in the past year when they did not have enough money to buy food. The Minnesota Department of Human Services reported that almost 37,000 of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligible adults were aged 60 or older.
Our food shelf in Little Falls is no different than others throughout the state. We have seen a 20 percent increase in usage in each of the past two years. Because we had built a buffer to prepare for increased usage, we have been able to deal with the changes to a large extent. But, with projections indicating a continued increase in usage, we cannot continue having revenues falling short of expenses.
Our food shelf prides itself in providing for those without jobs, in between jobs, and those who are working, but earn a wage that is not sufficient to provide food for a family. There are families where both parents are working either part-time, or at minimum wage, and therefore do not have enough to put enough food on the table for a family of five. That is what we are about.
We have been able to handle the increases up until now because of your generosity. Little Falls area residents have been extremely supportive in past food share drives. For that, we at the food shelf thank you.
You can help by stepping up when asked by a friend or colleague at work to participate in the drive this year. Every dollar given will give us more access to funds raised at corporate levels. In that way, each dollar given locally becomes important for the future of our program.
In closing, I would like to share a quote by John Kennedy, “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
In advance, I want to thank you for being a part of helping those in need in our community this month.
Ron Hinnenkamp is the president of the Morrison County Food Shelf Board, Little Falls.