A Different kind of Food Fight

March 1, 2016 1:26 pm

Featuring guest blogger Suzanne Shatila, Director of MN FoodShare

On a day in early 2015 that was too cold even by Minnesota standards, so cold that all the city schools and many agencies were closed, I met Jacquie at my office to talk about how FINNEGANS might be able to partner with my program, Minnesota FoodShare. Had I known that if we met at her office instead I could have had either really good strong coffee or cold beer with snacks, obviously we would have met there instead.
Most times when I meet with a new partner, we make polite conversation and talk about our jobs and think about ways we can collaborate to benefit both our programs. This meeting with Jacquie was anything but polite. The room filled with laughter as the ideas flowed, and in no time we had established a great partnership. During the month of March, profits from FINNEGANS sales benefit the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. In addition, we host the FINNEGANS Reverse Food Truck at our events and cross-promote both organizations’ efforts to fight hunger.
The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign is the largest grassroots food and fund drive in our state and many food shelves report that this is the month where they bring in almost 50% of what they need to feed the hungry in their communities. Minnesota FoodShare partners with and mobilizes thousands of individuals, businesses, schools, congregations and community groups to help restock 300 food shelves in our state. Last year the March Campaign was able to raise over $8 million dollars and 4.7 million pounds of food. One hundred percent of donations to Minnesota FoodShare during the March Campaign are distributed to our partner food shelves based on the amount of food and funds they raise during March as well as the amount of clients they serve. In the last four years alone, Minnesota FoodShare has distributed $2.7 million to Minnesota food shelves.
Food shelves are able to purchase $4 worth of food with every $1 they receive, which is why cash donations are so crucial. That $8 million raised in 2015 ended up bringing around $32 million worth of food into Minnesota’s hunger relief system in addition to the 4.7 million pounds of food collected. This is why the March Campaign is so important to our partner food shelves as well as to those who are living in poverty in Minnesota.
We love all of our sponsors, but Jacquie, Angie, Tricia and the rest of the FINNEGANS team make working with them so easy and fun—and it’s not just because of the free beer!
They have a great business model and are truly dedicated to fighting hunger in fun and creative ways. We’re thrilled that FINNEGANS has partnered with us again to fight hunger in our state and we’re looking forward to lots of great events this March, such as the FINNEGANS’ Chef Food Fight and collecting food as we March Out Hunger with the FINNEGANS Reverse Food Truck in the St. Paul St. Patrick’s Parade on March 17.
Too many people in our state have no choice but to rely on food shelves to help make ends meet, which is why I’m glad that we are able to partner with FINNEGANS. Though we may have different approaches to fighting hunger, we both can agree that, with one in 10 Minnesotans experiencing hunger, we need to do whatever we can to bring good food to those who need it most.

-Suzanne Shatila

Director of MN FoodShare

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