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Local foodshelves participate in Minnesota FoodShare Program

Fri, Mar 14th, 2014
Posted in All Features

Minnesota FoodShare coordinates the largest fund and food drive throughout the state for the entire month of March. In efforts to increase awareness of hunger in Minnesota, FoodShare promotes the donation of food and dollars combined for foodshelves in the state.

In 2012, more than 554,000 Minnesotans received federal food assistance; that is one out of every ten Minnesotans. Roughly a third were children and nearly a fourth were elderly or disabled individuals. How does that relate to Fillmore County? Diane Petrich, SEMCAC Foodshelf Manager, cited that since the first of the year, 159 families throughout Fillmore County have signed up for services. SEMCAC serves the majority of Fillmore County and has sites in Rushford and Preston that also provide assistance for rural families and families residing within other communities in Fillmore County.

SEMCAC will receive a portion of the contributions collected by FoodShare. These contributions enable them to purchase items in bulk at discounted prices which in turn helps keep their shelves full. Their allocation depends heavily on the amount of money raised and food received at a local level as well as the number of people served during the remainder of the year. Petrich explained that she was able to purchase items needed for families or individuals with cash donations for less than what a consumer would be able to. She cited an example, noting she had recently purchased 6-24 oz. bottles of Kraft Catalina Dressing for $1.68; not each, but total cost. Petrich is able to purchase items such as this through Channel One out of Rochester or through a separate agency.

SEMCAC also welcomes food donations as well. Diane shared that paper products or personal care products are the most challenging to keep stocked and are accepted as donation. Also accepted are fresh food donations, as long as fruits and vegetables are washed first. Whether purchased or from your own garden, fruits and veggies are always welcomed.

Families and individuals may apply for FoodShelf services throughout the year. The application process is easy and respects data privacy laws. If you are in need of assistance, you can stop into either site location and fill out a simple application. Applications are processed quickly and once your are signed up you receive a card that tracks your monthly allocation, which is determined by family size. For example, a family of one receives 15 pounds of food monthly, a family of two recieves 25 pounds per month and from there it is an additional 10 pounds per family member. On average SEMCAC serves 120-150 families per month which is equivilant to 320-375 individuals. SEMCAC allocates 4,500-5,000 pounds of food to families in need every month.

You can help make a difference. Simply mail your monetary donation to: P.O. Box 5, Preston, MN 55965. If you would like to donate tangible goods, you may do so at either SEMCAC location in Fillmore County.

The SEMCAC sites are not the only foodshelves in Fillmore County. Mabel, Spring Valley and Wykoff (St. John’s Church) also offer help to families who need a supplemental food source in their communities. Reach out to them if you are in need, that is their sole purpose. If you are able to donate, whether monetary or otherwise, they will all gladly thank you and pass your gifts on to those who need them.

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