CAER’s March food drive begins

The March food drive for  CAER is underway.

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month and efforts have begun to raise money and food for CAER, the Elk River-based food shelf.

The goal is to raise $125,000 in dollars and/or pounds of food this month.

Many churches, schools and organizations will be participating in the food drive and there will be other community efforts as well as individual donations.

One of the events coming up is a 5K on March 16 to benefit CAER, hosted by McCoy’s in downtown Elk River. (See page 8.)

Here are some facts about hunger, from Minnesota FoodShare.

•In 2012, people in Minnesota visited food shelves more than three million times.

•According to a Gallup poll conducted between January and June 2012, 13 percent of Minnesotans reported that there were times in the last year when they did not have enough money to buy food.

•Although the pace of increase has slowed over previous years, the three main programs to address hunger in Minnesota — food stamps, food shelves and subsidized school lunches — all hit record levels of use in 2012.

•U.S. Census figures showed that 194,260 Minnesota children lived in poverty in 2011, a rate of 15 percent.

•In the last decade, senior citizens and working families increasingly visited Twin Cities metro area food shelves. High housing costs, prescription drug costs and unemployment are cited by these populations as reasons for increased reliance on emergency food sources.