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Willmar Area Food Shelf misses 2011 goal but exceeds last year's donations

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Area Food Shelf received 140,381 dollars and pounds of food combined during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. The campaign, now in its 29th year, helps emergency food pantries and food shelves feed the needy during the year.

The Willmar food shelf did not reach its 2011 goal of 160,000 dollars and pounds but the combined amount received this year exceeded the 2010 goal of 140,000 dollars and pounds.

"We knew that 160,000 would be a pretty high number to reach,'' said Christie Kurth, food shelf executive director. "While this year's drive did not reach the goal, I'm pleased nonetheless.''

Although donations of pounds of food are down, cash donations are up. In this year's drive, the food shelf received 44,737 pounds of food compared with 53,702 pounds in 2010, but received $95,644 in cash this year compared with $78,094 in 2010.

Kurth said cash helps the food shelf buy more food from Second Harvest Food Bank of St. Paul. A $5 donation feeds a family of five for three days.

"I think that the message (that) we can do more with people's cash has really reached a lot of our residents,'' Kurth said. "I think with that, we've seen more cash come in and a little bit less pounds, which is good because we can stretch the dollar.''

Kurth said the food shelf accepts cash and food donations throughout the year and is always looking for volunteers.

"If you're somebody that wants to give but maybe not able to give financially but have a few hours to give here and there throughout the month, we are always looking for volunteers too,'' she said.

For 29 years, the food shelf has been raising food and money donations to feed an increasing number of hungry individuals and families in Willmar and Kandiyohi County.

Kurth said cash donations will help the food shelf meet its 2011 budget of about $190,000.

"Between some grants that we will be getting from state funding, some federal funding and local contributions, we're very close to meeting what our annual goal would be for the year,'' Kurth said. "I'm very positive that we once again will have a very successful year in meeting our budget by raising money in several different ways.''

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150