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Thanks to community, food pantry exceeds March goal

Becker County hosted its annual LMCBAY (Labor Management Committee) auction donation, raising money for the Becker County Food Pantry by auctioning off homemade goods from county employees and commissioners. There for the presentation to Berenz, left holding the check, on Tuesday are commissioners Ben Grimsley, from left, Larry Knutson, Don Skarie, John Okeson and Barry Nelson and Grabanski. DL NEWSPAPERS/Pippi Mayfield

March was a very good month for the Becker County Food Pantry. And area residents are to thank for it.

With businesses, organizations and individuals kicking their giving into overdrive for Food Share Month, the food pantry exceeded its goal for the month.

“I really want to thank the whole community for coming through for us again, and last Thursday, our goal was achieved,” Food Pantry Director Jack Berenz said.

Because March began on a Saturday, Hunger Solutions gave a grace period to food pantries, allowing donations collected during the first week in April to count towards the partial matching funds.

The goal the food pantry reached was 120,000 pounds/dollars. Each pound is worth a dollar, and each dollar is worth a pound.

“If we received nothing more, this should last us a little over half the year,” Berenz said of the March donations.

That’s not to say that donations should stop, or will stop, coming. He said in the fall when harvesting begins, the pantry gets more donations then as well.

Many organizations gear up to donate what they can during March because of the partial match the food pantry receives from Hunger Solutions, a private organization that gives money to all food pantries in Minnesota.

There are 300 food pantries in the state of Minnesota, and all of them report how many pounds of food and dollars were donated in the month of March.

“All of those numbers from those food pantries make the pool. The percentage of what we put into that pool is the percentage of what we get from Hunger Solutions,” Berenz explained.

In 2012, the 300 food pantries collected 12.5 million pounds/dollars, so he said there’s no way to have a complete matching grant.

“It’s a partial match, but it’s significant to us,” he said.

“The people of Becker County came through and all I can say is thank you, thank you.”

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.