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March is Minnesota FoodShare Month

Area food shelves are gearing up for one of the biggest donation drives of the year.

Minnesota FoodShare Month, taking place during March, is a statewide effort to raise money and food for food shelves throughout the state.

"It's the biggest time for us to ask for donations," said Connie Warner, treasurer of the New York Mills Food Shelf.

Food shelves will get extra money based on local donations, Warner said.

John Leikness, director of the Perham Food Shelf, said, "We look to March as being a significant month for us and for all the food shelves throughout Minnesota."

Warner said that food shelves accept both monetary and food donations, although monetary donations can be taken the furthest.

In 2010, the NY Mills Food Shelf served 468 families, or 1,269 individuals, and distributed 36,516 pounds of food.

In March 2010, $12,867.25 and 722 pounds of food were donated to the NY Mills Food Shelf.

According to Leikness, the Perham Food Shelf has 300 households in its database, serving anyone residing in the Perham School District.

Leikness said that the Perham food shelf distributes roughly 1,500 pounds of food to clients per week, and usually receives over 1,000 pounds of food in donations per week.

"The Perham community is unbelievable in their support of the food shelf," Leikness said.

The NY Mills Food Shelf is open the last Monday of every month 9 a.m. to noon. Persons residing in the NY Mills School District are eligible to use the food shelf.

The food shelf is located at 400 S. Walker Avenue in NY Mills. Donations may be sent to NY Mills Area Food Shelf, PO Box 323, New York Mills, MN 56567. For more information, contact Connie at 218-385-2900.

The Perham Community Food Shelf is open every Tuesday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. The food shelf is located at 501 4th Avenue NW in Perham.

Cash donations may also be sent to the Perham Food Shelf at P.O. Box 7, Perham 56573. For more information, call 218-346-6181.

Food shelves request that people avoid donating dented or bent cans of food, food in damaged packages or out-of-date food. Donations of highly nutritious meals or foods are preferred.