The request could come in the form of a letter sent home with schoolchildren, a box at the local super market, or a call for donations from a pastor — wherever it originates, chances are people will be asked to help restock area food shelves in the upcoming weeks.
The March food drive, directed by Minnesota FoodShare, is the largest campaign in the state and helps replenish supplies for nearly 300 food shelves across the state, including the Milaca Area Pantry.
March is the best time to donate to these local organizations as Minnesota FoodShare makes a matching donation, which can potentially double the amount collected by the local offices.
Milaca Area Food Pantry Director Carol Mueller said March donations can help shore up reserves during the summer months when donations taper off.
During 2012, the local shelf provided 211,879 pounds of food to 722 families. Nearly 90 families visit the pantry each week. Hundreds of volunteers put in almost 4,500 hours of sorting, packaging and distributing the need food and other items.
“We are seeing many more families that never thought they would ever need our help,” Mueller said. “There is desperation in the voices of people coming for help. They have exhausted all their resources and need food shelves in order to put food on the table.”
The local March food drive will kick off with the fifth annual breakfast Sunday, Feb. 24 at the American Legion in Milaca. Last year, the pantry raised 6,569 pounds of food and $31,986 during the March campaign.
“Our goal this year is to exceed this amount,” Mueller said.
While canned goods and boxed food items are popular contributions, cash donations can often go further. Mueller said a $1 donation allows her to purchase up to five meals from Second Harvest.
The Milaca Area Pantry is located downtown on the north end of the business block at 120 – 2nd Ave SW. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday.
Donations may be mailed to: PO Box 133, Milaca, MN 56353, made electronically at givemn.org (enter “Milaca Area Pantry”) or dropped off Thursdays at the Milaca Area Pantry.
Anyone wishing to learn more about this non-profit or arrange a visit, should call 320-982-3773.
For the full story, see the Thursday, Feb. 21 print edition of the Times.