ACBC Food Shelf part of challenge grant program

The Anoka County Brotherhood Council (ACBC) Food Shelf is partnering with Open Your Heart to Hungry and Homeless in its second annual $100,000 food shelf talent grant challenge grant program.

ACBC Food Shelf needs help to fill empty plates this summer and donations in July will generate grants to help end hunger in Anoka County, according to Jerri Loughry, ACBC executive director.

The more funds a food shelf raises in July will mean a larger Open Your Heart grant, Loughry said.

Minnesota food shelves raised $1.1 million last year with this grant, while ACBC raised $14,609 during July 2011 and received a $1,528 grant, she said.

“Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless believes this approach to hunger alleviation is effective because it brings communities together to solve a growing concern in Minnesota,” Loughry said in a press release.

“The $100,000 challenge will power a statewide initiative to leverage additional funds to food shelves.”

“The challenge also increases awareness of child hunger during the summer.”

According to Loughry, foodshelves are pressured to respond to child hunger during the summer because only one in six low-income children who ate a school lunch during the regular school year are reached by the federally-funded summer nutrition programs.

Last summer ACBC provided 1,403 extra food bags to families with children, Loughry said in the press release.

“In the past decade in Minnesota, the number of children living in poverty has increased by 53 percent,” she said.

“That means one in five families with children are now at risk for hunger in Minnesota.”

For 25 years, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless has targeted millions of dollars to strategically fight hunger in Minnesota, according to Arna Yetter, executive director.

Open Your Hearts funds the purchase and transfer of more than one million pounds of fresh produce, meat and dairy products every year through Hunger Solutions, Yetter said.

ACBC Food Shelf has been providing emergency food and clothing to area residents for 41 years and for the past four years has been providing extra summer food bags to families with children.

From May 2011 to May 2012, ACBC served over 10,000 families, according to Loughry.

Every dollar raised purchases four pounds of food from Second Harvest Food Bank, while a $25 donation will buy 100 pounds of food which equals 77 meals for the hungry, Loughry said.