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Letter: Food distribution helps families in Stevens County

We cannot imagine going hungry. There may have been a brief time in our lives when we could, but not now. And, the thought of anyone, especially a child, going without food is unacceptable in our opinion. At Bremer we have taken hunger very seriously. Each June, Bremer banks corporate wide recognize hunger through Meals for Many. In 2012, our local Bremer initiated the Backpack Program with the Morris Area High School and the Stevens County Food Shelf in response to our Bremer hunger initiative. The first year was successful, and between 70 and 80 students received a bag of food each Friday to get them through the weekend. As the school year came to a close we wondered what would happen to those kids who depended on that food over the summer.

So, we gathered a group of people from West Central MN Communities Action, Morris Area Schools, Stevens County Food Shelf, Stevens County Human Services, and Bremer Bank to discuss sponsoring a food distribution over the summer months.

After a lot of planning and fundraising, three food distributions were held at the Morris High School in June, July and August. Over those months, 618 families and almost 1,400 people received a substantial amount of food, including vegetables, meat, canned goods, frozen food, bread, cereal, and other miscellaneous items.

These food distributions would not have happened had it not been for the many businesses, churches, and individuals who donated dollars and time. There are too many to name individually but here we would like to thank the financial sponsors: Stevens Community Medical Center, Trinity Lutheran Church in Cyrus, Bank of the West, Bremer Bank, Faith Lutheran Church, Ag Country, CDC Bank in Hancock, New Horizons, Riverwood Bank, United Farmers and Merchants State Bank, Morris Auto Plaza and Morris Coop.

West Central MN Communities Action serves as our fiscal agent and organizer of the food distributions. Their expertise is what allowed this project to take place in Stevens County.

Thanks to Superintendent Scott Monson for allowing use of the Morris School and kitchen, to instructors Nick Milbrandt and Natasha Mortenson and the FFA students, Jennifer Maras and the BPA students, Peg Rinkenberger and her student council students, the tennis and football teams, and many thanks to the janitorial staff.Also a huge thank you to Dean Monson and Roger Duncan for their generous trucking donations. Dean drove to Crookston to pick up the semi load of food from North Country Food Bank three times.

Paul Martin donated the use of carts and bags for the food distributions, and Morris Coop donated the use of their forklift. Thanks to them as well.

We are planning to conduct the food distributions again next summer. If you are interested in donating you can do so by sending a tax deductible donation to WCMCA, 411 Industrial Park Blvd, Elbow Lake, 56531. If you are interested in helping plan or work next summer please contact Bremer Bank.