Now is the best time to give to the Becker County Food Pantry

The largest grassroots food and fund drive in the state, the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, runs Feb. 27 through April 9 this year — and the Becker County Food Pantry is a part of it.

Food Pantry.jpg
Brad Carlson, Becker County Food Pantry executive director, says that donations to the pantry in March are eligible for grant funding via the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.
Detroit Lakes Tribune file photo

DETROIT LAKES — There’s no shortage of hungry people in Becker County these days — demand at the Becker County Food Pantry has grown the past two years and “continues to creep upwards,” said Food Pantry Director Brad Carlson.

Last year, the local food pantry served 4,316 families and distributed a total of 240 tons of food to 13,260 people.

Inflation is no joke to people on a fixed income, and seniors are the fastest-growing group of food pantry visitors, according to Second Harvest Heartland, which distributes food to hundreds of food shelves in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Food insecurity also hits the young: One in 11 Minnesota kids don’t have regular access to the nutrition needed to thrive, according to Second Harvest.

Food Pantry
A Becker County Food Pantry user looks over some of the items at the Food Pantry.
Detroit Lakes Tribune file photo

If that concerns you, now is the time to do something about it: The largest grassroots food and fund drive in the state, the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, runs Feb. 27 through April 9 this year — and the Becker County Food Pantry is a part of it.


At the local food pantry, food donations are great, but cash is still king, Carlson said. “Undesignated monetary contributions are still preferable over product donations,” he said, “as we are able to purchase some items for as low as 8 cents a pound — through our partnership with the North Country Food Bank — or receive a discount for buying in bulk.”

Cash donations also give the food pantry the flexibility to use the funds where needed, he added. “We can buy things a lot cheaper than most people can contribute them,” he said.

The Becker County Food Pantry is “a 100% volunteer organization,” Carlson said. And while the regular volunteer slots are full, the food pantry is looking for people who can jump in and help when needed.

The outside of the Becker County Food Pantry, which has seen strong demand growth in recent years.
Nathan Bowe / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“We need last-minute volunteers to cover if someone is calling in sick or something else is going on,” he said. “We’re working on a system where I can send out a fast text and get some quick help.”

If you can volunteer, or have questions, call the food pantry at 218-846-0142 and leave a message. “You can’t be afraid to get dirty, and you should be able to lift 40 pounds, or a toddler,” Carlson said.

The March Campaign has been an annual statewide program to restock food shelves for over 40 years.

Becker County, along with the other food shelves, is eligible for grants coming from the Greater Minneapolis Community Connections. “The more donations we collect, the larger our award from GMCC,” Carlson said. All financial contributions to Minnesota FoodShare via the March Campaign go to participating food shelves. Product donations can be dropped off anytime Tuesdays or Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Becker County Food Pantry at 1308 Rossman Ave. — near the Minnesota Flyers gymnastic building at the Becker County Fairgrounds.

Checks can be mailed to 1308 Rossman Ave., Detroit Lakes, or credit card donations can be made online at: .


The Becker County Food Pantry is open to the public from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays — and from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month, by appointment only.

The March campaign brings together community organizations, businesses, and faith communities to help stock the nearly 300 food shelves across Minnesota.

To date, Minnesota FoodShare has distributed over $18 million during the March Campaign to participating food shelves via its Food Fund.

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