MINNEAPOLIS – With kids out of school and families busy with summer plans, July is traditionally a tough time for food bank shelves as demand rises and donations fall.
But according to Suzanne Shatila, director of Minnesota FoodShare, a boost is on the way thanks to the March Campaign, a statewide grassroots effort in which every dollar given goes to local food shelves. Shatila says some 300 food shelves took part in the effort and will each receive a share of about $500,000 on Tuesday.
“Even though we’re really focused on recognizing the food shelves and the work they do, as well as the work done by congregations, it’s important to understand how everyone in Minnesota who donates to their local food shelves – not just in March, but throughout the year – makes an impact on hunger in our state,” says Shatila.
In addition to the money being distributed Tuesday, more than four million pounds of food and $7.5 million dollars in donations came in to food shelves statewide during the March Campaign.
Among the food shelves getting a financial boost from Minnesota FoodShare is Neighbors Inc., located in South St. Paul, where food shelf assistant Scott Andrews explains food donations are always welcome, but there are advantages with monetary help.
“Our agency has access to purchase from food banks, and the money we use for food there is at least double what your money might get in a grocery store,” says Andrews. “The other great thing about money is it’s a little more flexible. If a person donates food, we may have a lot of that food. We’ll still use it, but if a person donates money, we’re able to purchase things we know we need.”
According to the USDA, more than 10 percent of Minnesota households struggle with food insecurity.