Wolves Assist Minnesota FoodShare

Lauren Lang
Wolves Writer

Are Minnesotans able to fill 300 food shelves in the span of a month? Yes, but that's where you - the fans come in. The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign is currently in their 29th year and hold claim as the only food drive of its kind in the United States. As the largest food drive in the state FoodShare has generated millions of dollars and pounds of food since the initiative was first put into action in 1983. On Tuesday the March Campaign kicked off with a one simple goal; restock Minnesota's food shelves that have been depleted over the last year.

This year, Timberwolves president Chris Wright has been named Honorary Chair of FoodShare's March Campaign. The relationship is one of the utmost importance to Wright and the Timberwolves organization, "We've (Timberwolves) been involved with this particular campaign for about 15 years and I think more than Chris Wright being the chairperson for the campaign, I think it's a great honor for our team and a great honor for our franchise,” Wright explained.

The 2011 goal is to collect 12 million pounds of food and/or dollars. Fans can do their part by donating food items or cash at the any of the remaining Wolves home games, or donate directly to your local food shelf. For every dollar donated, four pounds of food is able to be purchased.

"The March Campaign is unique in the sense that every dollar that is given to Minnesota FoodShare goes directly to local food shelves, immediately impacting those in need the most. Over the last three decades this initiative has provided over half of the food that then gets distributed by the various food shelves in the state," Wright said.

Aside from restocking the food shelves, the campaign focuses on helping to raise public awareness and earn extra funding for FoodShare to keep this important and essentially life-saving initiative alive.

"We're all blessed with incredible jobs and the ability to be able to put food on the table for our families. What has happened due to the economic crisis, particularly over the last couple of years, is that there has become more and more need - not necessarily that homelessness has grown - it has, and therefore the need for food and all of these food shelves has grown, but it's amazing the number of people who are living near the poverty line who also have jobs." Wright said, before he really put into perspective, "Fifty percent of the food that is basically handed out by the food shelves in Minnesota is actually given to families who have a working adult inside of the family, but they just can't make enough money in this economic climate to be able to feed their families."

Due to the decline in the economic state of our country food shelves have seen an immediate need for fully stocked shelves. From 2000 to 2010 food shelf usage has tripled - growing from more than one million visits to more than three million visits annually.

The March Campaign is unique because it is backed by thousands of individuals, congregations, corporations, civic groups and schools in the state that are all fighting for the same cause that Wright is fighting for, "I personally have a passion for wanting to make sure that people who need to be fed get fed, and I have an opportunity to be able to help provide a square meal in very difficult circumstances. I've never ever witnessed that in my lifetime, but I can only imagine what it must be like knowing you're going home or you're going somewhere to sleep one night knowing that your stomach is going to be empty and for all intensive purposes you have no ability to be able to get food inside of yourself. I'm very moved by things like that, very passionate about things like that. That's why personally I very, very quickly said yes to the honor of being able to be the Honorary Chair for this year."

It is estimated that over 250,000 volunteer hours, 2,500 congregations and 70 corporations in the Twin Cities each year play a part in the March Campaign. Every little bit helps and the Wolves hope you will join them in helping "fill the shelves" this month for Minnesota Foodshare's March Campaign.

How you can help:
Donate directly to your local food shelf any non-perishable goods and/or cash donations. All donations collected in your community stay in your community. You can also drop off donations at the Target Center. Bins are located throughout the skyway, box office entrance and Lifetime Fitness. Food for thought: $10 will feed a family of two for one week…$20 will feed a family of four!

More Minnesota Food Share information:
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