“Be The Hero, Fight Hunger.”
That’s the theme of the March food drives taking place across Minnesota until the end of the month.
Carol Mueller, director of the Milaca Area Pantry, said area residents can be heroes right here in Milaca.
“In March, we get a partial match on donations from Minnesota FoodShare,” Mueller said.
Minnesota FoodShare is the organization that helps provide food to the food shelves across the state.
The Milaca Area Pantry also participates in the Feinstein Foundation’s $1 Million Giveaway to Fight Hunger. This is a matching donation to the pantry based on monetary and food donations received during March and April, Mueller said.
The local food shelf has some special events planned throughout the month to help boost awareness of the pantry and to increase donations during the special match month.
Collections and fundraisers at local churches have already begun, Muller noted. Schools are in the midst of food drives, too.
In the weeks to come, you’ll see the windows of the Milaca Area Pantry begin to fill up with drawings of food shelf heroes drawn by Milaca native Charlie Fehring and colored by area school children, Mueller said.
The food shelf also sent letters, soliciting cash donations, to Milaca area businesses.
If you look around area businesses, you’ll see collection containers waiting for donations.
On March 21-22, some local churches will be participating in the “Pack the Pews” program, designed to fill church pews with donations for the food shelf.
Just this past weekend, a labor group hosted a lunch to benefit the pantry. The pantry will also be the recipient of food donations at the March 22 expo, hosted by the Milaca Area Chamber of Commerce. Food shelf volunteers will also host a breakfast fundraiser on March 30 at the Milaca VFW. All proceeds will go the pantry.
Donations can also be made to the pantry by mail. You can mail a donation to Milaca Area Pantry, P.O. Box 133, Milaca, MN 56353.
Based on numbers from 2013, there is a great need for the local pantry.
The Milaca Area Pantry helped 659 households in 2013. There were 4,677 visits, with an average of 90 household visits each week, Mueller said. The Milaca Area Pantry distributed 240,182 pounds of food in 2013.
Last year during the March Food Drive, donations totaled 8,538 pounds of food and $34,775, which was used to purchase food. The pantry’s match from Minnesota FoodShare was $3,447.59.
The Milaca Area Pantry, located at 120 Second Ave. SW, Milaca, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday.