MARSHALL - This month if you went down to the round building by Minnesota Highway 23 and donated a dollar to the food shelf, it would be like you gave them $3.
Through Feb. 27, the Delta Masonic Lodge 119 of Marshall will donate $2 for every $1 given to Western Community Action's Food Shelf-Food Security program.
The generosity of the Masonic Lodge is perfect timing, said Allan Bakke, WCA development director. Western Community Action is in the midst of a fund-raising campaign with a goal of $500,000.
"With the food security expansion we are looking at raising about $300,000 to go with the $200,000 we already have secured through an Otto Bremer grant," he said. "With this opportunity from the Masonic Lodge we could achieve that goal by raising only $100,000."
The food security expansion includes extending the current Kitchen Table Food Shelf space.
"An area about 64-by-48 feet will be added on to the west of our facility," Bakke said.
The Kitchen Table expansion will allow for more food storage, particularly cold storage.
"We have a great partnership with local grocery stores, Schwan and Reinhart Foods to reclaim food, but many items must be refrigerated or frozen, so we can only take a limited amount," he said. "So we've had to say no to food on Friday because we couldn't store it Saturday and Sunday and then couldn't give it to people needing food on Monday."
WCA is also planning to expand its community garden, a project that provides vegetables and fruits to low-income families who work plots in the garden.
"The existing garden is about 1 acre," he said. "Once we build on the facility we will also plot out another garden on that side of the building, so we will have two gardens next year."
In the expanded space Western Community Action plans to give cooking lessons to community members so they will be able to use the fresh food.
"Many people cook with pre-processed and pre-packaged food and they end up spending more money," Bakke said. "Their grocery bill is consuming more of their money. Cooking with fresh food will help them economize so their money goes further."
Bakke said the need for food support is growing, particularly in rural areas.
"Five years ago there were 2,000 family visits," he said. "Today there are nearly 8,000."
Checks should be payable to Western Community Action. Include in the memo line: Food Shelf-Food Security. Donations must be received by noon Feb. 27 to be eligible for matching funds. Western Community Action is located at 1400 S. Saratoga St. in Marshall. For more information, call 507-537-1416 or visit www.wcainc.org