“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.