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Food shelves gear up for campaign

Area food shelves are asking for help to restock supplies.

March, which is the annual Minnesota FoodShare Drive month, is the time to make donations, as they will be partially matched by Minnesota Foodshare funds.

Last year, New York Mills Food Shelf was given an additional $500 from FoodShare, after the community responded with cash donations of more than $12,000 and 1,318 pounds of food.

Perham received $570 from FoodShare after collecting March community donations of $17,500 and 7,100 pounds of food.

"We really appreciate past support and encourage continued contributions," said Connie Warner, Treasurer of the New York Mills Food Shelf.

Area businesses are stepping up to the plate to help meet this challenge.

The New York Mills Trade Show on March 24 will be taking food shelf donations as an admittance fee.

Dean's Country Market in Perham and NY Mills will be offering two different sized paper bags - priced at $5 or $10 - full of groceries the food shelves requested. The contents of each bag will be worth 10 percent more than customers pay, which means the $10 bag will provide the food shelf with $11 worth of food.

John Leikness, Director of the Perham Community Food Shelf, said visits to the Perham Food Shelf increased by 42 percent in the past year, serving almost 1,200 families.

The New York Mills Food Shelf provided food for 473 families last year, holding steady from 2010.

Leikness said the food shelves can always use baking goods like sugar, flour and cake mix. Canned meats, like chicken and tuna, along with box dinners, pasta and rice are also encouraged.

"As always, monetary donations are very welcome since all food shelves can stretch the dollar significantly by purchasing from the North Country Food Bank," Leikness said. "We can buy, on an average, three-to-one."

There is also a national challenge by The Feinstein Foundation, which divides $1 million among participating food shelves. The foundation bases its contributions on how much the community donates throughout March and April.

Donations in NY Mills can be dropped off at prearranged times with Connie Warner, who can be reached at 385-2900. Checks for the New York Mills Food Shelf can be mailed to PO Box 323.

Donations in Perham can be dropped off at the Food Shelf at 501 4th Ave NW during hours of operation. Special arrangements can also be made to pick up significant amounts of food by calling 346-6181. Monetary donations may be mailed to the Perham Community Food Shelf, P.O. Box 7, Perham.

Dean's Country Market in NY Mills and Perham accepts contributions at any time. Service Foods and many area churches will also have drop boxes.

New York Mills Food Shelf is open the last Monday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Perham Food Shelf is open on Tuesdays between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m.