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Increased need, donations at food shelves in March

Area food shelves saw increases in contributions during the annual March Minnesota Food Share campaign.

"We continue to experience such a giving community," Perham Food Shelf Director John Leikness said in a telephone interview. "It is very impressive."

This year the food shelf in Perham received more than $21,000 and 5,544 pounds of food, which is an 11.3 percent increase over last year. The food shelf in New York Mills collected more than $16,000 dollars and 3,000 pounds of food.

Community contributions were higher than in years before, which is "absolutely needed" to support the increase in families the food shelf is supporting, Leikness said.

According to, Perham Food Shelf had visits from 305 families during the first quarter of the year. This is an increase of 35 percent over the same period last year.

Thankfully, Leikness said, the contributions are rising with the need.

"This community is self starting," he said of the wide support the food shelf has received. More than 120 groups and businesses collected food during special events to help make the food drive a success.

Donations made in March are partially matched by the Minnesota Food Share Organization and the Feinstein Million Dollar Challenge.