Local food shelves participate in Minnesota FoodShare's monthlong campaign
WORTHINGTON -- Two Worthington food shelves, Manna Pantry and Worthington Christian Food Shelf are once again participating in Minnesota FoodShare's March campaign.
To promote FoodShare Month, Dennis Weets of the Manna Food Pantry has been speaking at local churches as well as placing advertisements.
"I'm also opening to being invited to speak at other churches," he added.
While Manna Food Pantry, located in Westminster Presbyterian Church, will accept food donations, Weets said monetary donations are preferred. All donations given during the month of March will be matched by the state.
"Plus, I buy most of our groceries through Second Harvest Heartland, a food co-op in the cities," he added. "For every dollar, I can buy almost $10 worth of food."
While Weets said monetary donations are the best way to help the food shelf, he added that it has been blessed with very generous food donations.
Most recently, Elmendorf Farms, an Anabaptist community in Mountain Lake, donated 750 pounds of flour.
"They've also given garden produce in the summer and fall and are a major donor for us," Weets said.
Worthington Christian Church Food Shelf is also asking for donations throughout the month of March.
"We're trying to solicit contributions in March because everything donated gets matched," said Art Frame, a food shelf volunteer.
"It's a good time to give."
At Worthington Christian Church Food Shelf, food products are given out based on the number of people in a family.
"We're just trying to help them get through the month," said Jerry Krull, another food shelf volunteer.
The church's food shelf receives many of its donations from local businesses, including bread products from Fareway and Hy-Vee.
"We just got a bunch of really nice apples from the Ocheda Orchard," Krull added.
In the summer and fall, Frame said Worthington Christian Food Shelf also receives fresh produce donations from community and private gardens.
Both Frame and Weets said that the number of people they help varies, and that they will see some families only a couple times while other families visit the food shelves on a regular basis.
Weets said he has also noticed a change in the number of families served annually.
"It continues to increase," he said. "Aa year ago, in 2011, it was 868 families, and last year it was 974. Some only come once or twice, but many come much more often."
Minnesota FoodShare directs an annual March campaign. It is the largest food drive in the state, and more than 300 food shelves across Minnesota participate.
Throughout the year, Minnesota FoodShare advocates on behalf of hungry families while educating the public about hunger in the state.
When he talks to people about Manna Food Pantry, Weets said he encourages people to be generous.
"This is our major fundraiser," he said. "We raise more money and donations in March than any other time of year. It's big for us, and we try to make a big push."
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