Monday, March 23, 2015

FoodShare Campaign Coming Up Short...

We would like to thank our local VFW Post 1720 for stepping up with a $1,000 FoodShare donation! We are over half way through our Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign and we are well below half of our goal of $60,000/lbs. Please donate what you can to help us stock our shelves.

Donate online here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Give to the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign

The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign helps food shelves who participate to re-stock shelves and earn extra dollars from a state wide food fund allocation. Sponsored by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, the annual campaign is dedicated to bringing attention and support for Minnesota food shelves and the important work they do.

The Second Harvest Food Shelf is open five days a week to help local families meet their basic needs. On a typical day the food shelf serves an average of 50 households that need food assistance with over 2,700 pounds of food. By the end of a month over 50,000 pounds of food is distributed to help meet the demand and keep local people from going hungry. In 2014, Second Harvest Food Shelf distributed over 800,000 pounds (400 tons) of food to people in need in the greater Grand Rapids area.

“The Food Shelf has struggled to keep the shelves full when we see such high need each and every month. Typically, donations are up during the holiday season, but resources dwindle throughout the winter months and into the spring, so the March Campaign comes at a very critical time. All donations stay local to help provide food and hope to the families who count on us for their next meal,” according to Ellen Christmas, Second Harvest Program Manager. She continued, “The impact of even a small donation is significant, not only because of the FoodShare allocation, but because for every dollar donated, we can provide five meals to feed local men, women and children who are skipping meals and making hard choices between buying food or other necessities.
Hunger has a negative impact on the whole community, especially children and seniors. The high cost of housing, food, medicine, and utilities places tremendous stress on families already living on the edge. The Second Harvest Food Shelf provides a safety net that ensures local people have enough food. Recently clients wrote in their own words how the Food Shelf helps them:
  • “By using the Food Shelf I am able to get my prescriptions filled instead of having to go without medication to buy food.”
  • “Without the Food Shelf we would go hungry 4 -7 days of the month because prices are so high and bills must be paid before any food shopping is done.”
  •  “I come to the food shelf so my disabled Mom can eat.”
  • “It’s priceless to watch the kid’s faces light up when you walk in the door with groceries!”
Every person who turns to the Food Shelf for help has their own, unique story as to why they find themselves in need. For most people, it is a humbling, if not humiliating experience to ask for help from a food shelf to feed yourself or your family.
Recently, a 34 year old working father of four daughters – a 6-year-old, 4-year-old twins, and a 2-year-old came to the Second Harvest Food Shelf. He works out of town, and one of the reasons they come to the Food Shelf is that they have very high daycare costs, due to both parents working, a job that requires traveling, and having only one child in school. He was very grateful for the food he received at the Food Shelf. It helps his family pay the bills and still have food to eat.
He stated, “It has been a major help to keep our family healthy and have the variety of foods we can’t afford at the grocery store. It is a good resource - to know that we can come here when we need to. I also pick up groceries for my elderly grandmother who has been the caretaker of my mentally handicapped uncle for the last 53 years. She has very little income for the two of them. The Food Shelf helps them get the food they need to get by and so she can care for him at home.”
The FoodShare March Campaign is an opportunity for the entire community to provide support for local people in need of food assistance. The deadline to receive dollars or food donations to count for the March FoodShare Campaign is April 3, 2015. Donations can be made in person, on-line or by mail. For more information contact Ellen Christmas at Second Harvest Food Bank, 326.4420 ext 25 or visit

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Second Harvest Food Shelf Kicks Off Annual March Campaign

During the month of March, Second Harvest’s Food Shelf is joining with over 300 food shelves across the state to collect donations of money and food during the annual Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. These donations will support local efforts to help fill the shelves and feed people in need and reduce hunger in the greater Grand Rapids area.
 “In order to keep the shelves stocked and meet the need, we count on community support to provide food and hope to many families trying to keep food on the table,” said Ellen Christmas, Second Harvest Program Manager. “Every effort or contribution, large or small, helps us to continue to feed people - many of whom are children.  March is the time of year that we can leverage additional dollars for the Food Shelf through donations because of the FoodShare Campaign,” she added.
Individuals, congregations, businesses, schools and community groups are encouraged to get involved in the FoodShare March Campaign. There are many ways to help support the effort.  Individuals can donate funds by mail, on-line or in person.  Volunteers are invited to an open Volunteer Day Wednesday, March 4th from 9am until 3pm for individuals or groups to help re-pack bulk food for distribution through the Food Shelf. Businesses or organizations can host fund and/or food drives to aid in the effort by collecting cash or cans from their customers, employees or members.  These are just a few of many creative ways the community can help the Food Shelf in the month of March. 
New this year is the opportunity for the faith community to participate in “Pack the Pews” March 20 -22.  Churches are asked to join forces with congregations across the state to pack the pews with grocery bags full of non-perishable food items and to take up a special collection to help re-stock the shelves.  First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Grand Rapids is planning their “Pack the Pews” event and challenges other congregations to do the same.  Molly Goplin, a member of the Board of Human Care at First Lutheran had this to say, “We know how many families struggle with hunger right here and sometimes to make it through they just need a little bit of help with food and to know someone cares.  Without the food shelf, seniors and kids might not get the nutritious meals they need.  We hope other congregations will also help the food shelf out at this critical time and individuals will contribute what they can. Think of how much we can do together as a community for the local food shelf if we all give something and “Pack the Pews” of all the local churches.”
Second Harvest’s Food Shelf distributes food to over 1,000 families every month, encompassing more than 3,000 individuals, of which almost 40% are children. Food Shelf use is up over 18% over the same period last year. Many people continue to struggle to meet their basic needs and often must make difficult choices whether to eat or pay for utilities, rent or medical care. Many parents report that they feed their children first and go without meals themselves when there is no money left for groceries.
To help the Food Shelf to continue to be a safety net for our local friends and neighbors who are hungry, support is needed from the entire community.  All donations of food and funds made in March stay local and directly help the Second Harvest Food Shelf which serves the communities of Balsam, Blackberry, Bovey, Calumet, Cohasset, Coleraine, Grand Rapids, LaPrairie, Marble, Taconite, Warba  and nearby Townships.  The deadline for food and funds to be delivered to Second Harvest in order for them to count for the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign is Friday, April 3.
 For more information contact Second Harvest Program Manager, Ellen Christmas at 218.326.4420 ext. 25.