If there was ever a time of need and a time to be generous, that time is now. Even in the best of times, there are many Americans who face hunger through no fault of their own – such as people who have been laid off, people who’ve had medical or other tragedies in the family and others struggling against the forces of inflation, paycheck to paycheck.
March is, once again, Minnesota FoodShare Month. Every dollar through March until April 8 will go to buy food for food shelves across the state. What’s so important about donating in March is that every dollar donated can buy much more buck-for-buck because the food can be purchased in large volume-buying through regional food distribution centers. For every dollar donated in cash or check, that buck can buy food worth five or six times that monetary amount.
This week, the Salvation Army announced its FoodShare campaign. Its aim is to unite cities, corporations, schools, churches and civic groups to focus on hunger while raising money and food for the state’s 300-plus food shelves. Minnesota FoodShare, in fact, raises almost half of the food distributed at local shelves.
Minnesota FoodShelf began 30 years ago during a recessionary time. As everyone knows, times have been especially tough in the past three or four years, with higher-than-normal unemployment rates and difficulty in finding jobs. In addition, some families have been forced to decide whether to pay bills or scrimp on quality, nutritious food.
The statistics are verging on grim:
More than 510,000 Minnesotans receive some form of food support, much of it from local food shelves.
Between 2008-2010, statewide visits to food shelves increased 62 percent.
According to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10.3 percent of Minnesotans lived in households that sometimes struggle to get enough food.
Just imagine children going to bed with empty stomachs and hunger pains. Imagine those children not getting quality nutrition, except in schools; and imagine what malnutrition can do to development processes, including the ability to learn and to grow stronger.
Even a donation of $1 can buy food for the equivalent of four meals. A $5 donation can purchase 18 meals.
Last year, the St. Cloud-based Salvation Army helped close to 2,000 families with 440,000 pounds of food.
“I know there are many pressing matters in this country, but for me, ending hunger is the most important,” said Laura Douvier, St. Cloud Area Salvation Army Food Shelf March campaign coordinator.
The people, businesses, churches and civic groups in central Minnesota have always been extraordinarily generous to the food shelves of the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and the dozens of local food shelves throughout the area. The best way to continue that generosity is to donate from now until April 8, FoodShelf Month.
To donate, go to the following website: mnfoodshare.gmcc.org/march.php. Then click on “Donate.”
People can also send a check made out to “Minnesota FoodShare” and drop it off or send it to the Salvation Army, 400 S. Hwy. 10, St. Cloud, MN 56304.
And, remember, every cent of every dollar goes to buy food for shelves throughout the entire state; that means us, too. And, not to forget, all donations are 100-percent tax-deductible.