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Editorial: There’s still time to donate to food shelf

If you haven’t donated to the Hubbard County Food Shelf yet for its annual fund drive, there’s still time.

Food shelf usage continues to rise. In 2012, food distribution was up 10 percent, with 4,172 family visits made to the food shelf. Last year, 14,056 individuals were served, a 13 percent increase over the year before. In 2012, the food shelf gave out 288 tons of food.

The reasons people find themselves vary, from a budget that doesn’t stretch far enough to job layoffs, but no one should go hungry.

Minnesota FoodShare reported people in Minnesota visited food shelves more than three million times. Visits to food shelves have increased 164 percent over the past decade.

The three main programs to address hunger in Minnesota – food support, food shelves and subsidized school lunches – all hit record levels in 2012.

Children are the fastest growing population of SNAP-eligible participants in the state, the Department of Human Services reports of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The food shelf drive runs through Friday, April 5. The donations at the conclusion will determine the amount the food shelf will receive through Minnesota FoodShare.

Donations through April 30 are the basis for grant funding from the Alan Shawn Feinstein Foundation – $1 million will be divided proportionately among qualifying agencies.

Last year, 30,000 pounds of food and $66,000 were donated during the Hubbard County Food Shelf drive. (A pound of food is equivalent to $1 for grant purposes.)

Checks to the Hubbard County Food Shelf may be mailed to 308 Pleasant Ave., Park Rapids, MN 56470.

Food drop-off locations in March and April include churches, banks, schools and grocery stores.

Preferred donations include:

n Canned - fruit, tomatoes, stew, vegetables, soup, meats, kidney beans, pork and beans and fruit juice.

n Other - Hamburger Helper, Jell-o or pudding, hot cereal, instant potatoes, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, pasta, Bisquick, cake mix, rice, powdered milk, sugar, crackers, pancake syrup, cookies and jelly.

n Non-food items - bar soap, toilet tissue, toothpaste and shampoo.

Donation of dry cereal is discouraged because it’s significantly less expensive at the food bank in Crookston.

The food shelf is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Hubbard County Food Shelf is an all-volunteer enterprise. Ninety people now arrive on a regular basis to assist. None of the money collected is used for salaries. A percentage is used for heat, electricity, insurance and water and sewer. No real estate taxes are assessed.

The Akeley-Nevis Food Shelf is mirroring the Park Rapids site. Usage is up and continues to grow.

The food shelf at the ARCC can be accessed on the southwest side of the building, the gym door. Signs will be posted inside. The distribution site is open from 9 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday and for emergencies.

Volunteers always welcome.

Monetary and food donations are welcome. Checks can be made to the Akeley Community Food Shelf and sent c/o George Lueck to 31510 County 23, Akeley, MN 56433 or dropped off at the ARCC.

If you can, please consider a donation.