By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, WINSTED, MN Business and community leaders across McLeod County will join together to help their neighbors in need during the month of March.
Lester Prairie Business Association and Winsted Chamber of Commerce will join with other McLeod County cities in a March food drive to benefit the McLeod County Emergency Food Shelf.
The drive will run from Monday, March 1 to Wednesday, March 31.
Drop-off points will be located in each city.
Business association or chamber representatives will collect items from the drop boxes and deliver them to the McLeod County Food Shelf.
In Lester Prairie, drop-off locations include:
• First Community Bank of Lester Prairie
• Angvall Hardware & Mercantile
• Prairie Market
• Lester Prairie High School.
In Winsted, drop-off points include:
• Holy Trinity Catholic Church
• Oster Evangelical Covenant Church
• St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
• Harvest Community Church
• Winsted Elementary
• Holy Trinity Catholic School.
Some businesses may also provide drop-off points.
Items that are needed include non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, paper products, and personal hygiene items. Cash donations and gift cards for local businesses are also accepted.
According to Marietta Neumann, director of the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf, about 135 Winsted and Lester Prairie residents have been served at the food shelf this year.
Donations to the food shelf stay in McLeod County.
There was a 20 percent increase in usage of the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf in 2009, and the number of people using the food shelf is increasing.
Of the 3,111 households served last year, 400 never had to use the food shelf before.
Many of the users were 70 years of age or older.
“There are a lot of people out there who are in need, with the economy the way it is,” Lester Prairie Business Association President Troy Feltmann said. “We encourage anyone who has a little extra to help out. Any donation, large or small, will be appreciated.”
This will be the first year that the Lester Prairie Business Association has participated in the March Food Drive.
Winsted participated last year, and has a goal of three pounds of food per capita this year, according to Winsted Chamber of Commerce past president Don Guggemos.
Guggemos said he will contact local businesses, and ask them to encourage their employees to participate.
Guggemos said he would like to see every city participate in the program.
Even cities that do not have a chamber or business association have some type of civic group that could organize it, Guggemos said.