March is FoodShare month in Minnesota. United Community Action Partnership (UCAP) operates food shelves in Heron Lake/Okabena, Marshall, Tracy and Westbrook. Now through April 6, every gift of food, time or money does more to realize the FoodShare vision of “a Minnesota where all residents have access to healthy food and no one struggles with food insecurity.” And that starts in our local communities.
“All gifts to our food shelves are always used within that community,” said Margaret Palan, UCAP’s Community Resource Manager who oversees the food shelves.
The FoodShare March Campaign is the largest grassroots food and fund drive in the state. Its goal is to activate community organizations, businesses, and faith communities to help stock local food shelves, and draw attention to the reality of food insecurity.
“Drawing the focus of many for a single month can have a tremendous impact on ending hunger in our communities,” Palan said.
There are many ways people can help the effort.
“Obviously, we need food on the shelves, but we can also use volunteers and monetary donations,” she said. “Through Second Harvest Food Bank, we can actually purchase almost twice as much as what someone could but at the local grocery store to put on our shelves.”
UCAP is always looking for ways to make it easier to donate. “Our food shelves are all enrolled in the Thrivent Choice program. If you’re an eligible Thrivent Financial you can direct your Choice Dollars to the food shelf of your choice.”
All donations received during the March Campaign are reported to FoodShare, and each food shelf receives an incentive check based on their donations collected. Anyone interested in learning more about how they can help can contact Margaret at 507-537-1416.
UCAP’s food shelves are definitely making an impact. Last year, they gave out approximately 480,000 pounds of food, and helped an average of 420 families each month.
“With the help of our communities, 2019 can be our best year yet,” said Palan.