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Willmar Area Food Shelf participates in annual FoodShare campaign

WILLMAR — The Willmar Area Food Shelf hopes to raise $200,000 and 50,000 pounds of food during the 2014 Minnesota FoodShare campaign in March.

Upcoming fundraisers include Radio For Relief, a food and cash donation event sponsored by eight Willmar radio stations from 6 to 10 a.m. March 28 at the Willmar Fire Station.

Also, the Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra will perform at 4 p.m. April 27 at Bethel Lutheran Church. Admission is free, no tickets are required and an offering will be taken. The event is sponsored by Bethel, Calvary and Vinje Lutheran churches. All proceeds will benefit the food shelf.

In 2013, the food shelf served nearly 10,000 households and provided more than 1 million pounds of food.

Individuals, churches, businesses and organizations provide 80 percent of cash donations. By “stretching your dollar,’’ a $10 donation can feed a family of three for three days. The partnership with the Second Harvest Heartland food bank allows the food shelf to buy food at discount prices.

Through the Feeding America program, the food shelf received more than 400,000 pounds of food from Cash Wise, Walmart and Target stores in 2013.

The food shelf operates at three sites: downtown Willmar (opened in 1982); New London (opened in 2009); and Ridgewater College (opened this past fall). More than 100 volunteers provided 14,900 hours of work (equivalent to 7.2 full-time employees) valued at $326,459.

The food shelf has two full-time employees: Christie Kurth, executive director for the past 8½ years; and Kari Goldschmidt, assistant director of marketing and fund development for 1½ years.

Part-time employees are volunteer coordinator Maria Hanson, inventory specialist Tonia Danielson, office coordinator Denise Kelly, and custodian Gloria Cuka.

Source: Willmar Area Food Shelf.