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MAC/NAPS helps the hungry

Have you ever truly felt hungry and didn't know what or where you were going to find something to feed yourself or your family?

With your cupboards and refrigerator empty, what would you do? I have never experienced this, but I know there is hunger all over the world. My name is Karla Mitchell and until I took my present position as the program coordinator of MAC/NAPS, I didn't realize how prevalent hunger is right here in our community.

The program mentioned is a government program called Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP. It is a program that locally is known as Mothers And Children (MAC) and Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS). The program provides a monthly box of basic food items enough to prepare many meals throughout the month.

These boxes of food are packaged at Second Harvest Heartland in the metro area and shipped to Detroit Lakes for local distribution. Presently, we serve over 300 people a month in our community, and we could serve many more as the need is great.

However, this program is at risk of being cut at the federal level. This program is vital to our community.

MAC/NAPS distribution takes place the first part of each month out of St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Detroit Lakes. A nutrition educator is on site each month to demonstrate how to prepare and make efficient use of the foods as well as share recipes and nutrition information.

The MAC/NAPS program is made possible through cooperative efforts of Second Harvest Heartland, Mahube Community Action Council, Becker County Community Health, Becker County Human Services and St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

A local Advisory Committee meets monthly and represents Mahube, Becker County Community Health, St. Mary's Regional Health Care Center, U of M Extension Service, Becker County Coordinator on Aging, and a local Parish Nurse.

Becker County Sentenced to Serve assists on a regular basis in unloading the semi-trailer of food boxes. Many volunteers help keep this program running smoothly on a monthly basis as well. Groups such as Detroit Lakes Lions Club, Becker County DAC, and numerous caring and dedicated individuals help at the distribution site each and every month. The distribution effort is truly a coming together of hands to share the work.

The operating costs for the program are approximately $500 per month. This funding is made possible entirely by donations. To the many local businesses and churches and services organizations who have generously contributed and those who continue to offer ongoing support, I thank you. The local recipients of this program thank you.

I welcome our local elected officials to visit our distribution site and witness first hand the need this program fulfills. Second Harvest will get us the food, but it's up to us to run the program at our local level.

If you or your service organization would like to make a donation to the local operating cost of MAC/NAPS, contact either Mahube (847-1385) or BC Community Health (847-5628 ext. 5397).