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Food Shelf begins March Campaign to re-stock shelves

Trina Dietz
Communications Coordinator
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud
Of: 320.650.1644
Catholic Charities Emergency Services Food Shelf begins March Campaign to re-stock shelves
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Catholic Charities Emergency Services Food Shelf has a long name, for a good reason.
  • If you have to choose between feeding your family or buying medicine for a sick child, it’s an emergency.
  • If you have to choose between putting gas in your car, or food in your kids’ tummies, it’s an emergency.
  • If you have to choose between eating breakfast or dinner, so your kids can have three meals in a day, it’s an emergency.
“Individuals and families who come to Catholic Charities Food Shelf are in crisis,” said Steve Pareja, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud. “They’re making the type of daily decisions that most people have never even considered as necessary. We recently had a client tell us that before coming to the food shelf, he had stolen food out of gardens and garage freezers so he could eat. He was so ashamed of what he’d done, but when you’re that hungry, you’ll do things you know you shouldn’t.”
Most food shelves receive a huge influx of food and other resources during November and December, but by March, supplies begin to dwindle.
More than 30 years ago, Minnesota FoodShare, an interfaith collaboration, began an annual March Campaign to re-stock state food shelves. The group gathers incentive funds from large Minnesota corporations such as Target, General Mills and Land O Lakes, to challenge local food shelves like Catholic Charities Emergency Services to raise as much food and funds as they can locally.
“The more food and funds we can secure locally, the more of those incentive funds will come back to help hungry people in the St. Cloud area,” said Pareja. “When you consider that our buying power allows Catholic Charities to use just $10 to purchase $30 worth of groceries, every dollar is significant.”
Statewide, food shelves have a friendly competition to see who can bring in the most food and funds. Pareja said Catholic Charities came in fourth in last year’s competition, and the organization would love to move up in this year’s standings.
The Pack the Porches event on Friday, March 23 helps Catholic Charities in their efforts to replenish the Emergency Services Food Shelf. This community-wide food drive will have three locations, all accepting non-perishable food items and cash to aid those who use Catholic Charities Emergency Services Food Shelf.
Donations will be accepted from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Friday, on March 23 at three locations:
  • Pioneer Place on Fifth Theatre, 22 5th Ave S, St Cloud
  • St. Cloud Hyundai, 900 2nd St S, Waite Park
  • Health Partners Central Minnesota Clinic, 2251 Connecticut Ave S, Sartell
Pareja said, “Pack the Porches is a way for people to come together as a community to make a difference; to thank those who stop by, the businesses provide coffee to go. It’s a really great way to come together.”
In addition to the March Campaign and Pack the Porches event, Catholic Charities Emergency Services accepts donations year-round, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 157 Roosevelt Road. Monetary donations can also be made online at CCStCloud.org.
St. Cloud Catholic Charities is a non-profit organization that prides itself in serving the central Minnesota area. Catholic Charities is passionate about building communities, helping families, and by providing quality services that enhance human dignity.