For many years, March in Minnesota has been designated as Minnesota FoodShare month. It is a time when nearly every food shelf in the state makes an all-out effort to raise as much food and money as possible in what turns out to be a rather heated competition among food shelves.

FoodShare logoWe at Neighbors make a big deal out of FoodShare month for a couple reasons. First, our shelves are getting bare. The number of families being served in the first months of the year, and the amount of food going out the door, considerably outstrips the amount of food coming in during the same period. Bringing in as much food as possible in March helps position us to serve the families who turn to us for assistance during the next six months when food donations, once again, are at a much lower ebb.

Second, the financial support we will receive from the FoodShare organization and Hunger Solutions later in the year will be determined in large part by the amount of food and funds we raise in March. The more we are able to bring in, the larger the size of the check we will receive later.

The people of our community have been wonderfully supportive for many, many years. Last year, Neighbors had the fourth most successful Minnesota FoodShare program in the state, the third year in a row that we have finished in the top five. Many people at Neighbors, staff and volunteers alike, work very hard throughout March to make this happen. But the real reason we are successful is because so many people throughout northern Dakota County want us to be successful and they make a special effort to assure that this happens.

Food ShelfSo, once again in 2016, we ask for your help. If you attend a place of worship that partners with Neighbors, help make your faith community’s food drive a big success. If you work for a local business, ask your employer to conduct a food drive. If a local boy-scout or girl-scout troop holds a food drive in your neighborhood, set a bag of food out to be picked up. If you have a child who attends a local school and their class or their school is conducting a food drive, chip in. Write a check to Neighbors, or donate online to boost our March drive. And remember to check with your employer to see if your donation can be matched.

If you want to conduct a food drive, give us a call and we can help you plan the drive and/or provide you with barrels, posters, flyers – anything you need to help make it a success.

Help us, once again, crack that top five in FoodShare programs in Minnesota. And in the doing, help your neighbors in need by making sure Neighbors has the resources it needs to provide that assistance.

– John Kemp, Neighbors’ executive director