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Mission Proved "Possible" for MN March Campaign

April 27, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota's March Campaign organizers denied it was a "Mission Impossible" this year, when they set out to match last year's ambitious goal of collecting 12 million pounds-and-dollars of food. While early reports from the state's food shelves had them a little worried, the final numbers have been tallied. Sue Kainz, March Campaign coordinator for Minnesota FoodShare, has an update.

"Our final total was 12,048,127 pounds-and-dollars, and we're very pleased with that. It's about 18,000 over the 2010 campaign. It was pretty nip-and-tuck for awhile, not knowing if we were going to reach our goal, but we did - and we're grateful to generous Minnesotans for making that happen."

Minnesotans collected nearly 4.3 million pounds of food and $7.8 million for the March Campaign, the state's largest annual food drive.

The March Campaign also saw a higher percentage of cash donations this year, which Kainz says translates into even more food. Local food shelves can stretch those dollars by purchasing from food banks or at discounted rates from local grocers - at about four pounds of food per dollar.

"That's about 35 million pounds of food that this campaign represents. In 2010, the food shelves gave away about 65 million pounds of food, so this represents half of the food that is given away at a food shelf in any given year. That's why this campaign is so very important - to make sure that nobody in Minnesota goes hungry."

The campaign benefits about 300 food shelves across the state, many of which have seen dramatic increases in demand. In 2010, they helped more than 3 million people, up from 2 million in 2008.

With today's announcement, Minnesota FoodShare is also acknowledging the people who make the campaign - and the operation of the state's food shelves - possible, Kainz adds.

"We have about 3,400 volunteers in any given week working at food shelves across the state. Without them, food shelves wouldn't do the wonderful work that they do, and the March Campaign wouldn't be successful. We are very grateful to all the generous Minnesotans who have made these campaigns happen for almost 30 years."

More information about Minnesota FoodShare and the March Campaign is available at www.mnfoodshare.gmcc.org.

Sharon Rolenc, Public News Service - MN