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Willmar, Minn., Area Food Shelf receives milk fundraiser matching cash donation

WILLMAR — The Willmar Area Food Shelf has received a matching donation to the month-long $14,000 fundraising drive to buy milk for needy clients after state milk funding ran out more than two months ago.

All donations made to the food shelf between now and Feb. 1 to support the milk fund drive will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2,500, said Christie Kurth, food shelf executive director.

Kurth said a longtime food shelf donor made the matching donation. Kurth said the individual was looking to make a donation.

“We talked about it and they wanted us to figure out a way that we could really use it to build the capacity of the fundraiser,’’ Kurth said.

Since the matching donation began Thursday morning, the food shelf has received $274, Kurth said.

The food shelf announced the milk fund donation effort in mid-January and has received $1,921 as of Thursday, Kurth said. The fundraising effort ends Feb. 15.

The food shelf began the fund drive after state milk money given to the state’s food shelves ran out two months ago.

The Legislature had allocated funds to food banks to buy milk at a discount. The Willmar Food Shelf buys food including milk that is trucked here from Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank in St. Paul.

State milk funding began July 1 and the food shelf, which also serves clients at the New London office, had been buying fresh milk at the discounted cost of $3 for a case of nine half-gallons. However, the funding ran out the first of November and the cost of buying milk is now $12 per case.

 Although the higher price is still a bargain, the cost of fresh milk would increase from $287 per month to $1,164 per month, or more than $13,968 per year, and would dramatically affect the food shelf ’s $60,000 annual food budget.

As a result, the food shelf is no longer buying and providing fresh milk to clients, according to Kurth.

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