Salvation Army down in food

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Salvation Army is again looking for food to help restock its shelves. Herald file photo

The Salvation Army is again looking for food to help restock its shelves. Herald file photo

With Christmas donations gone, food shelf seeks donations

Austin’s Salvation Army hopes to see more food donations come in as March marks Minnesota’s food share month.

“It works out pretty close to right around this time where we start to get a little low,” Lt. David Amick said.

Amick said the food shelf is currently low on supplies, though that’s not unusual for this time of year.

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During Christmas, he said the food shelf gets many donations, and the food shelf survives on its Christmas stock for January and most of February.

“We usually have an influx, usually a huge influx around Christmas time and a little after,” Amick said. “But after that it usually dies off.”

Case manager Lori Espe said the food shelf needs a little bit of everything, including canned beans, vegetables, any kind of canned tomato, carrots, corn and cold cereal, which they are completely out of.

“The shelves are very low; we need all the basics,” Espe said.

Need at the food shelf has been up a bit in recent months. The salvation army served more than 400 households each month from June 2014 to January 2015, but Espe and Amick said there was a decline in February, with about 336 households served.

“We’re waiting to see if it’s going to be a one-time shot,” Amick said.

“We’re really hoping this will start to kind of trend lower a little bit,” Espe added.

Stocking up for summer

Despite the decline in February, there is still substantial need in the community, especially with summer coming. Amick noted many students will no longer get breakfast or lunch at school, which means families will need to provide more meals at home. Unfortunately, with many people on vacations and the holidays nowhere near, summer is one of the slowest time for donations.

“Our overstock room is really empty,” Amick said. “So we’re actually buying more than we’d like to but we’ve got to get food until the end of the month.”

Espe said the Boy Scout food drive will likely be held in March, and encouraged anyone who wanted to hold a drive to do so.

“If there’s anyone out there that would like to do that, it would be awesome,” she said.

Amick said the food shelf also gets help through Minnesota Give, an organization that helps match donations. Espe didn’t discount the donations given over the holidays, but she hoped people would remember the less fortunate during the warm months.

“We did receive a lot of really wonderful and generous donations during the Christmas months,” she said. “We have just run out of those donations and have started to buy out again.”