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Holiday Giving Ends, But Hunger Problems Remain in MN

With the gift-giving season over, Minnesota food shelves say food donations still are needed. (iStockphoto)
With the gift-giving season over, Minnesota food shelves say food donations still are needed. (iStockphoto)
December 28, 2015

ST PAUL, Minn. - The holiday giving season may be over, but some local food shelves say the need for food donations isn't going anywhere. The coordinators behind the state's largest food drive, the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, say they're already preparing for the event even though it's still a few months away.

Suzanne Shatila, Minnesota FoodShare director, says it's important to remember hunger is a year-long issue that affects more than 500,000 Minnesotans.

"It does really make things difficult for agencies to keep the doors open and to keep serving families," says Shatila. "One of the reasons the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign got started is because donations are typically down after the holidays."

After the New Year, Shatila says they will start working with about 4,000 groups and organizations to get prepared. Last year, the March Campaign helped restock about 300 food shelves across the state.

New to the March Campaign this year is the addition of Honorary Chairman Jason DeRusha, a TV and magazine food writer. Shatila says she's hopeful DeRusha's connection to the food industry will help raise the profile of this year's food drive.

"He has a lot of great ideas about how to get the word out about the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, that will increase our exposure and get a few new people involved," says Shatila.

DeRusha plans to film a video asking Minnesota restaurants to get involved with effort. And recently the state's Education Department touted a report showing that over the past year a record number of Minnesota school students have been getting involved with community programs, such as donating to food shelves.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - MN