visited our food shelves in 2023
Donations made from February 26th-April 6th can be counted towards our 2024 MN FoodShare Campaign.
A NEW REALITY Every March, Minnesotans band together in the biggest annual effort to raise money for food shelves across the state. For the past few years, CAC has come to you with a message of urgency as we break RECORD AFTER RECORD for food distributed and people served. It’s time to acknowledge that this is the new reality.
In 2023, 1 in 5 residents of Rice County received food from CAC’s food shelves. These are people you know: your neighbors, working families, seniors on fixed incomes, parents with young children, maybe even you. We all feel the effect of inflation and rising costs, yet some of us feel that impact more than others. We hear in the news that the economy is thriving, but CAC’s work in the community tells a story of people being left behind. After a record-breaking 2022, families reaching out for support increased by another 50% in 2023. That means that CAC’s food shelves provided nearly 1.5 million meals to 13,000 individuals last year, and those numbers continue to keep climbing higher.
THE NEED IS PERSISTENT – AND SO ARE WE. Until larger systemic changes happen, we will continue to work together and respond to the needs of our community. Persist with us – support your neighbors with a contribution to CAC’s food shelves this March.
CAC uses Donorbox for our donation processing, ensuring that all transactions are completely secure. Donorbox does not retain any bank or card information as credit card data is encrypted and tokenized. Moreover, Donorbox is SSL/TLS secured and meets PCI compliance standards for additional protection.
There are lots of ways to contribute to the food shelf: volunteer your time, donate food or money, host a food drive, or assemble care bags for the community.
To prioritize community donations, please read about our most wanted categories. We can accept fresh or frozen foods, and homegrown produce is welcome as long as it is clean and bagged or boxed for donation. Prepared foods must come from a commercial kitchen with original packaging and label. Donation hours are 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday-Friday.
• Dried beans (black and pinto)
• Canned meat & fish
• Nut butters
• Shelf stable non-dairy milk
• Other plant-based proteins
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
• Canned peppers (jalapeños, chipotles)
• Canned hominy, mushrooms, nopalitos
• Other dried, fresh, or frozen veg
• Homegrown food should be clean and bagged or boxed for donation
• Masa harina
• Whole grains
COOKING & BAKING
• Paper or reusable grocery bags, in good condition only and no plastic please
• Menstrual products
• Diapers, especially sizes 5, 6, 7
• Baby wipes
• Personal care items, including shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash
• Household items, including paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry soap, cleaning products
Here are the tips to putting together a successful drive:
1. Host a ‘virtual food drive’ to make the greatest impact. Collecting food can be very satisfying, but dollar-for-dollar, monetary donations to our food program will make the biggest difference. CAC can help organize an easy virtual drive with QR codes, branding, and communications that will give your team a goal and produce a measurable impact, whether it’s instead of or alongside an in-person collection. Reach out to gro.retnecnoitcaytinummoc@snoitanod to set one up.
2. Familiarize yourself with our Most Wanted Categories. Learn which items are most sought after by families and hardest for us to keep in supply.
3. Consider a themed food drive to focus your effort. It can be helpful to collect many donations of the same kind; this enables us to keep an item in stock and provide broad access to many participants. For example, you might focus on baking products, breakfast foods, diapers, menstrual products, cooking oil, etc.
4. Pick a duration and start collecting. Most food drives last 2-4 weeks, but you can choose a length that works for you.
5. Organize a drop-off of your donations at the food shelf. Please plan to deliver your donations to CAC in person at the conclusion of your drive. You can do this during our normal donation hours, which are 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday at either our Northfield or our Faribault location. Deliveries are easier for us to intake and process earlier in the day, and you only need to call or email ahead with especially large donations.
6. Don’t forget to tell the story of your drive! It’s important to connect your participants with the impact of their efforts. CAC will weigh your food donations and tally your monetary donations so you know exactly how much you’ve contributed to the wellbeing of your neighbors. With advance notice, we’re also happy to arrange a tour of your local food shelf for your group
Sourcing, assembling, and donating different care bags can be a great project for student and community groups. These bags are kept at the food shelves and resource centers and given out to participants by request. Here are some suggestions, though you’re welcome to add a personal touch.
Provide Families with an easy celebration-in-a-bag for a child’s birthday. Get creative by using decorative party bags, adding party favors, or giving each bag a different theme (like cartoon characters, sports, boy/girl, etc.).
• Boxed cake mix, Shelf-stable frosting, Candles
• Festive paper plates & napkins
These are used for supplementary meals including afternoon snacks. We request your donation include or focus on reasonably healthy options.
• Juice Box/beverage
• Chips or pretzels
• Granola bar
• Fruit snacks or dried fruit
Intended for community members in crisis who need help meeting basic needs for personal care. They can be put into plastic bags or toiletry bags.
• Toothbrush and Toothpaste
• Comb or Brush
• Band-Aids & Sanitizing Wipes
• Small Bottled Water
• Emergency Thermal Blanket
CAC’s vitality depends on the community — from volunteers to donations to program-specific support — so that we can continue to meet our neighbors’ basic needs.