Up for a challenge? This month, donations to the Meeker Area Food Shelf will be matched, up to $4,000.
For the second year in a row, Meeker Area Food Shelf has been invited to participate in a summer grant challenge called “Fishing for Food and Funds.” Last year, the campaign raised more than $12,000 for local people who need nutritious food but can’t afford to buy it on their own, according to food shelf Director Jayme Revermann.
Last summer, thanks to local donations, the food shelf served more than 1,500 individuals from 570 families in Meeker County. Statewide, children made 268,181 visits to food shelves last summer. “When kids are home for the summer, they are missing out on school meals and food shelves help fill that gap,” a news release announcing the campaign said.
Donors can have their name, or name of a loved one, or a message written on a fish to be displayed, according to Revermann, who noted that the more funds the food shelf raises in July, the larger the matching grant will be.
Summer is a crucial time for donations, and it’s especially stressful for both families with children and the food shelves that serve them, Revermann said. In a season for trips to the cabin, boat rides on the lake and farmers market outings, food shelf visits can be overlooked. But that is the reality for thousands of Minnesotans. Children are home from school, and family budgets are tight.
Without community support, the food shelf can’t end hunger by providing nutritious fruits, vegetables and other needed food to individuals, families and seniors, Revermann said.
Since 1986, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless has targeted millions of dollars to strategically fight hunger in Minnesota. Open Your Heart funds the purchase and transfer of more than one million pounds of fresh produce, meat and dairy products to Minnesota food shelves every year. Hunger Solutions Minnesota, another partner in the local campaign, connects food shelves with funding and technical assistance to support the state’s 3.4 million annual food shelf visits.
Last year, Minnesota food shelves raised more than $1.5 million participating in the foundation’s grant challenge.