Local food drive is underway

A community food drive began in New Prague this week. This year, the drive's goal is to raise awareness for hunger issues and collect food and other donations for the Peace Center, the local food and clothing distribution center in New Prague.

Last year during the Minnesota FoodShare March campaign, the community of New Prague rallied and contributed nearly two tons of food to the Peace Center. The more a food shelf receives in the month of March, the more they receive from an incentive food fund from Minnesota FoodShare. The food shelf is also eligible to receive allocations from the Feinstein Corporation. 

Organizers Tami and Cassie Madsen and Connie Bartelt plan to repeat a food drive again. The drive began March 1 and will continue through March 31.

Minnesota's March FoodShare Campaign is the largest food drive in the state.

Throughout March, the following businesses will serve as drop sites for the annual food drive: Hairchitects, New Prague Public Library, US Bank, Community Security Bank, Wells Fargo, State Bank of New Prague, Sonshine Preschool, Small Wonders Preschool, St. Wenceslaus Preschool, Lau's Bakery, Chameleon Coffee, New Prague Coffee Corner, Snap Fitness, The Fitness Center and Queen of Peace Hospital.

Needed items include canned or packaged foods and various household basics such as toilet paper, shampoo, laundry and dish soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. 

According to Minnesota FoodShare, in 2007 there were 1.9 million food shelf visits statewide, up 65,000 from 2006, and food shelf usage continues to climb.

During last year alone, 47 million pounds of food were distributed to Minnesota families. With food costs on the rise, donations will be even more important in 2008.

Last year Peace Center served nearly 3,000 individuals and 1,000 families, giving out close to 69,000 pounds of food, which averages out to 23 pounds per person.

March is a big push for Minnesota Food Share, a division of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. Donations that come into Peace Center are weighed, recorded and reported to Minnesota Food Share weekly throughout this month.

Then Peace Center donations from organizations and businesses are totaled. The local food shelf then receives a rebate

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