Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

March campaign against hunger

The month of March plays host to a statewide campaign to raise food and funds for local food shelves

 

March 29, 2018

Lois E. Johnson

From left: Shari Jusczak, Alyssa Thompson and Shannon Schaumberg pack groceries when they volunteer at the Moose Lake Area Food Shelf.

Moose Mart, the name of the store for the Moose Lake Food Shelf, is being remodeled.

More space has allowed Moose Mart to grow. Soon patrons will be able to choose the items that they need, said Shannon Schaumberg, one of the volunteers at the food shelf.

"If a person needs flour or rice, those are offered," she said at an interview at the food shelf. "People will be able to do their own shopping. The donations of food have been fantastic! People are going to be able to shop just like they do in a grocery store."

Volunteers come to help out at the food shelf.

"We definitely feel the need," said Schumberg. "The need is very great in this area."

The food shelf board president, Don Adams, sent information about the food shelf in an email.

The Moose Lake Area Food Shelf was initiated in 1987 through the Moose Lake Ministerium. The food shelf became a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization in 2011.

The food shelf is run by volunteers from the area and, in 2017, there were 74 volunteers who donated 3,063 hours of their time to operate the food shelf. The food shelf is governed by a board of directors (up to 11 members) who are elected for two-year terms.

The food shelf is open every Friday from 8:30 to noon, and the first Wednesday of the month from 3 - 6 p.m. Clients may visit the food shelf one time per month and typically receive one week's worth of groceries. In 2017, the food shelf served 326 area families, consisting of 945 individuals. There were 1,425 visits by clients to the food shelf in 2017 and 102,139 pounds of food were distributed during those visits. Thirty-six percent of their clients are 18 years or under, nine percent are 65 or older and 55 percent are adults between the ages of 19 and 64. Sixty-one percent of their clients are from Carlton County and 38 percent are from northern Pine County.

The food shelf has a number of special projects in addition to normal food distribution. It provides holiday baskets to client families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons (a turkey, boxed potatoes, gravy, cranberries, pumpkin pie filling, vegetables, etc.). It also provides school backpacks and school supplies to school-age clients. One hundred and fourteen area children received this service in 2017. During the summer months, when the school-aged children are not in school, the food shelf provides extra bread, peanut butter, snacks and other food to augment the nutritional needs of the kids. Last year, this program provided an additional 1,377 pounds of food to the clients.

The food shelf also has a partnered with the ADK sorority, whose members provide books to the food shelf for selection by the clients.

The food shelf has a close affiliation and partnership with Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank in Duluth, where the majority of food is purchased at a reduced rate. The food shelf also partners with Hunger Solutions Minnesota and in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. This is the period of the largest donations to the food shelf, as some of the proceeds from the statewide campaign are shared with local food shelves through a rather complicated formula based on financial and food donations received by each participant. Minnesota FoodShare is a major program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. Local donations from individuals, churches, schools (Moose Lake, Barnum and Willow River have had food drives), businesses and civic groups (the Sturgeon Lake Lions, Kiwanis and the Masonic Lodge) are the primary source of revenue and financial support of the food shelf. No government support is received.

The food shelf does receive a nominal grant from United Way of Carlton County and has to reapply for this grant in a competitive process each year.

The food shelf is trying to provide healthier food choices by offering more fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy protein, and whole grain offerings.

The food shelf is located in the alley behind Joe Jitters Coffee House. Call (218) 382-0058 for more information.

 

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