COURTESY OF KATHY BAARSCH
Sunshine Foods in Spring Valley will once again be supporting the Spring Valley Food Shelf during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign by making it easy for their patrons to donate.
COURTESY OF KATHY BAARSCH Sunshine Foods in Spring Valley will once again be supporting the Spring Valley Food Shelf during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign by making it easy for their patrons to donate.
The warmer breezes blowing into the area not only bring hope that spring is near, but also that the Spring Valley area’s rich tradition of giving back continues to flourish as the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf welcomes the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.

The statewide campaign is organized by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches and is the largest grassroots food and fund drive in Minnesota with $7.9 million and 5.2 million pounds of food donated in 2016.

Participating food shelves hope to continue their success this year as they ask local community members for their support.

The Spring Valley Area Food Shelf assists an average of 92 households and 220 people per month. An average of 4,073 pounds of food are distributed each month, which is approximately 18 pounds per person.

In a letter, the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf board shared that over $23,450 was received in 2016, $6,46.95 of which was received during March FoodShare, to provide food, equipment and maintenance for the shelf. These funds are donated by individuals, businesses, churches, organizations and grants. There were 17,253 pounds of food and supplies donated, which was an increase of 1,093 pounds from the previous year.

“Kwik Trip and Casey’s give bi-weekly donations, which are picked up by volunteers. In addition to churches, major food donations were received from the Postal workers, local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Kingsland students, the Spring Valley VFW and Sunshine Foods. Fresh produce is purchased locally and many gardeners generously dropped off their produce during the summer,” the letter said.

It is not just the donations of food or funds that keeps the food shelf running, but also the donation of time from volunteers.

The board estimates, volunteers worked 712 hours during open hours, spent 350 hours stocking shelves and unloading deliveries, 125 hours in meetings, 400 hours working on administration duties, 52 hours on scheduling duties, 116 hours keeping up the facility by emptying garbage, cleaning, and completing maintenance and 14 hours were spent handing out 60 meals for Easter and Thanksgiving for the Salvation Army for an astounding total of 1,769 hours.

According to the board, these hours were completed by 32 people who volunteer on a very regular basis during open hours, plus seven to ten people who help regularly unloading the delivery truck. In addition the board members hold monthly meetings, unload the truck and volunteer during open hours when needed.”

Those interested in donating can do so at participating churches, Sunshine Foods or stop by the food shelf.

The food shelf is located at 102 E. Jefferson Street and is open Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m. and the first Friday of the month from 9 to 10 a.m.