CAER kicks off ‘Mission Impossible’

by Jim Boyle
The drive to fill food shelves across the state of Minnesota and locally kicked off Tuesday, March 1, and CAER has set its sights on raising 100,000 dollars/pounds this month.
That may sound like Mission Impossible in times like this, but organizers of the drive are quite confident it can be done.
Every dollar and every pound of food donated helps draw matching funds through both Minnesota FoodShare and the Feinstein Foundation during the 29th annual statewide Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.
CAER is currently serving about 1,500 households in Elk River, Otsego and Zimmerman.
But it is getting harder to serve families. As the economy drags, some of the funding sources CAER has relied on over the years have dried up.
For instance, the food shelf has a $10,000 hole in its budget right now due to a funding cut for milk. CAER still purchases the milk inexpensively compared to retail prices of milk, but Second Harvest has had to respond to cuts in federal dollars that drastically reduced its ability to subsidize charitable giving.
“We’re hoping to make the most of this drive,” said Jenny Gray, the executive director for CAER “The community has always come through for CAER and I’m sure they will again.”
Gray is encouraging businesses, schools, churches and other community organizations to get creative and have fun collecting food and raising money. And there’s always the option of mailing a check to 19279 Watson St. N.W., Elk River, Minn., 55330, or dropping off food at CAER when it is open.
CAER is able to get $9 worth of food with every dollar donated. CAER also provides emergency financial assistance so people can maintain or retain safe housing, rather than become homeless or have utilities shut off.
Gray hopes to reach the goal in part so plans of creating kids’ kits for this summer get the green light. Kids’ kits are designed to reach the kids who receive free and reduced-price lunches during the school year who are vulnerable during summer break.
For more information, please call 763-441-1020.

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