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Food shelf saw need rise again

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Mary Pierce volunteers at the Wadena Food Shelf.1 / 2
Photo by Rachelle Klemme Food shelf co-directors Carol Aspengren and Mary Ann Hagen look through aisles of donated groceries.2 / 2

The Wadena food shelf saw seen an increase in the number of families seeking sustenance every quarter in 2010.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is one of many private groups lately making donations to the food shelf, also known as Project Share of Wadena.

According to a press release, members of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the communities in Wadena and Todd Counties organized and supported 13 fund raising activities for families in need in 2010. A total of $10,000 was used to benefit people in Todd and Wadena counties and $8,507 was provided as supplemental funding to the seven food shelves within the two counties. The 13 individual benefits raised a total of $42,890 beyond the initial $10,000.

Carol Aspengren of Wadena is the director of congregational advocates for the Wadena-Todd Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Aspengren and food shelf organizers Mary Pierce and Mary Ann Hagen said that Christmas in Wadena, Fair Oaks, the senior center, Humphrey Manor and local businesses such as Wal-mart and Mason Brothers have made donations as well, and that giving increases during the holidays.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army also gave after the June 17 tornado. However, the volunteers said post-tornado activity at the food shelf was not as busy as anticipated due to help from churches, Salvation Army and neighbors taking care of each other.

Aside from cash donations, volunteer time and food donations are accepted. The Cub Scouts also do a food drive.

While the food shelf is well-known for taking non-perishable food items, they also accept fresh produce which is distributed quickly and hygiene items such as toothpaste, toilet paper, soap and cleaning supplies.

Hagen said that USDA sets an income guideline to determine who is eligible for aid.

The Wadena food shelf serves the communities of Wadena, Deer Creek, Bluffton, Aldrich and Verndale. It is a nonprofit run entirely by volunteers.

Meant to be a sustaining emergency supplement after a paycheck and/or assistance has run low, the food shelf provides about 3 or 4 days worth of food to hungry individuals and families who may stop in once a month.

Donors and those in need of food can go to the food shelf during regular hours on Mondays and Thursdays from 9-11:45 a.m., and the contact phone number is (218) 632-5335.

In emergencies, contact food shelf board chair Jeanette Baymler.