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March drive stocks county's food shelf

Hubbard County's food shelf is well stocked, thanks to the beneficence of area businesses, individuals, organizations, schools and churches. "Outstanding," food shelf director Dave Long said of the community's generosity. "This is the best drive ...

Hubbard County's food shelf is well stocked, thanks to the beneficence of area businesses, individuals, organizations, schools and churches.

"Outstanding," food shelf director Dave Long said of the community's generosity. "This is the best drive I've been involved in," he said of his 15-year tenure as a food shelf volunteer.

Cash donations of $65,324 were "up dramatically" from years past, he said. This, in part, can be attributed to a $10,000 bequest from the Helen Fisher Trust Fund. Fisher, a former nun, also volunteered at the food shelf, witnessing first hand the community needs.

Donations of food were down about 20 percent, 18,238 pounds of comestibles delivered to the food shelf. But Long has encouraged donation of money, as opposed to food, during the drive. The funds are used to purchase food through Minnesota FoodShare at reduced rates.

Business donations amounted to 34 percent of the total, individuals 41 percent, churches 17 percent, civic organizations 5 percent and schools 3 percent.

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St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church once again earned kudos for fund- and food-raising.

St. Peter's combined food and fund total (with a pound of food equal to $1) was 6,728. The 11 other area churches' combined total was 7,550.

As has become tradition, NorthStar Orthodontics led area businesses in donations of food and funds, with more than a ton of food and $2,050 in cash delivered by deadline.

Creative initiatives fueled the fun and funds - including Tuesday Treat Day, a game similar to bingo played with half the pot going to the food shelf, a used book sale, a drawing for gift baskets, a soup and bread luncheon and a pie social.

NorthStar male employees rallied to bake pies that were sold via silent auction. This raised $400 for the cause.

NorthStar's John and Cindy Kelly also added to the cash donations.

J&B Foods and Coborn's contributed several thousand pounds of food, as did Green Valley Bean and Lamb-Weston/RDO.

"Donations arrived from individuals we hadn't heard from before," Long said. He attributes this to banks, grocery stores and other sources supplying information and envelopes, urging contributions. Summer residents, for example, made donations.

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Meanwhile, food shelf usage continues to increase, up 20 percent from the same period last year. "We're seeing new faces, people we've never seen before," Long said. More seniors are asking for assistance, he noted.

Statistics Long compiled since he began his tenure at the food shelf show 37,466 pounds of food were distributed in 1993 compared with 176,399 pounds given to needy families and individuals in 2007.

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