Chippewa County Food Shelf issues challenge

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News

For the month of July, the Chippewa County Food Shelf is issuing a challenge to the community to raise funds with a goal of $5,000 to be proportionally matched from a grant from Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless (OYH). The OYH organization annually issues a Summer Challenge, partnering with Hunger Solutions of Minnesota to help boost donations during a time when they are typically the lowest. The funding helps to restock the Food Shelf with fresh and frozen foods during a time of year that many Minnesota families find it most difficult to afford groceries.

“Donations are traditionally very low around summertime and we definitely can feel that at the Chippewa County Food Shelf,” says Elizabeth Koehl of Prairie Five Community Action.  Besides the need to raise cash funds for the matching funding, Koehl says personal care items are greatly needed in the summer month. “They’re very costly for us to purchase but they’re the most needed items for a lot of those that are coming to the Food Shelf,” Koehl says. 

In 2020, the Chippewa County Food Shelf served over 390 households and distributed over 58,000 pounds of food. “COVID-19 has definitely increased the number of users but has also decreased the number of volunteers we’ve had coming to the Food Shelf. Volunteers is definitely something we need as we are starting to return to this normal post-pandemic world,” says Koehl. The Food Shelf is now back to pre-COVID operating hours with in-person pickup.

Prairie Five has a number of suggestions for fundraising ideas, Koehl says, “Sometimes businesses will do different competitions among themselves in the community. We’ve had different 4H groups or chapters compete amongst themselves. School is out right now so that’s kind of hard for us because usually, schools will fundraise for us as well. Community groups will do fundraising as well. No fundraiser is too small - everything goes to a really great cause.”

Cash or checks are accepted for monetary donations and can be mailed or dropped off at the food shelf during regular business hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The mailing address for donations is PO Box 159, Montevideo, MN 56265. If anyone has any questions or would like assistance with a fundraising project or idea, please contact elizabeth.koehl@prairiefive.org or call 320-269-6578.