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Minnesota's March Campaign Lags as Month Comes to a Close

PHOTO: Judy Gregg of St. Luke Presbyterian Church, Wayzata, was instrumental in planting an expansive garden to benefit a local food shelf. Photo courtesy Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches.
PHOTO: Judy Gregg of St. Luke Presbyterian Church, Wayzata, was instrumental in planting an expansive garden to benefit a local food shelf. Photo courtesy Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches.
March 26, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. – With just days left before the end of the month, the state's largest annual food drive is falling short, although the need to feed families who are struggling financially remains strong.

The goal of the March Campaign is to raise enough money and food to support 300 food shelves across the state for six full months.

However, according to Minnesota Foodshare Director Suzanne Shatila, "We're hearing from some of our partners that they're not seeing as much food and monetary donations coming in. And I have to be honest, we're a little worried about how we're doing as well – we're not where we were last year, in terms of cash donations to the Food Fund."

Every penny that is contributed to the Food Fund goes to those food shelves statewide taking part in the March Campaign. Shatila notes that food donations are always welcome, but financial contributions can make an even bigger impact.

"If you donate cash, food shelves are able to stretch those dollars further than what we could at the grocery store," she explains. "Our food shelves work with regional food banks, so they're able to buy food at a very deep discount."

Shatila adds that, while economic improvement has been noted in the state in recent years, it hasn't changed the financial situation for many low-income families.

"Individuals who tend to be low-wage earners aren't seeing a huge increase in wages," she says. "Even with the increase in the minimum wage in Minnesota last year, we're just not seeing a huge improvement in terms of what families are able to take home at the end of the day."

Minnesota FoodShare is a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches and details are on its website about how and where to donate locally for the March Campaign.

It's estimated that around a half-million Minnesotans struggle with food insecurity.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN