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State's Largest Annual Food Drive Underway with March Campaign

PHOTO: Twin sisters Piper and Violet collected 66 bags of groceries when in kindergarten last year as part of the March Campaign. Photo courtesy: Minnesota FoodShare
PHOTO: Twin sisters Piper and Violet collected 66 bags of groceries when in kindergarten last year as part of the March Campaign. Photo courtesy: Minnesota FoodShare
March 3, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The largest annual food drive in the state is underway, with the March Campaign from Minnesota Foodshare. According to Director Suzanne Shatila, while the economy has been slowly improving, the need to help families put food on the table is still great. She also explained that the harsh winter that's led to many late starts and snow days at schools has made it even tougher for some families.

"As a result of kids not being able to get free and reduced lunch and also breakfast at their school, families weren't able to keep up with the demand for food in their homes and as a result they were coming in for more emergency visits to some food shelves," Shatila observed.

With some 3 million visits to food shelves in Minnesota each year, Shatila said, it can be a bit overwhelming for those wanting to help, but every day people can and do make a difference: for example, twin sisters from St. Paul.

"This year we are profiling two of our youngest 'Hunger Heroes,' Violet and Piper. And these two, when they were in kindergarten, were able to collect 66 bags of food for their area food shelf. So I think that kind of conveys the message that no matter what your age, no matter what your ability, you can do something," the food bank director declared.

The goal of the March Campaign is to take in enough food and money to supply some 300 pantries across the state with what they need for six full months. Information on where, what and how to donate is online at the Minnesota FoodShare website.

Last year's March Campaign raised more than $8 million and almost 4 million pounds of food.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN