Miracles do happen.
Just ask supporters of the Salvation Army Food Shelf in Brainerd.
On April 5, the results of the annual March food drive appeared bleak.
Brainerd food shelf supporters had hoped to raise $20,000 and 20,000 pounds of food during their annual March food drive, but by the end of the month they'd fallen short.
By the first week of April the food shelf only had raised 11,042 pounds of food and $11,800. The annual drive had barely brought in enough food to cover a month's food supply. The food shelf gives out about 10,000-11,000 pounds of food to residents in need each month.
All donations collected during the food drive increase the allocations the food shelf receives from Minnesota Food Share and the Feinstein Challenge. So food shelf supporters put out another plea for donations and extended the deadline for the food drive to April 8.
Surprisingly, the donations suddenly began to pour in. Last week food and monetary donations from area schools, businesses, service organizations, churches and individuals came in so fast that volunteers have had to store the extra food on rows of tables in the garage area where the food will be sorted.
Bonnie Sahf, Salvation Army family services director, said she couldn't believe the final numbers she tallied Monday.
The Salvation Army Food Shelf not only met its goal during its food drive but exceeded it. The food shelf collected a record 25,172 pounds of food and raised $29,993.48. It was the best food drive in recent years. More than half of the monthly donations were raised in the final week of the food drive.
"The community just really came through in the end," said Sahf. "It was amazing."
Sahf said Salvation Army workers couldn't keep up with the donations that poured in April 5-8. Most everyone had to stop with their regular duties and help with the food donations. She said she has worked for the Salvation Army in Brainerd for the past eight years and has never seen a food drive raise this much.
"It's just a great community," said Sahf. "I just know when you put the word out the community just responds. They just support programs like this. They are so supportive. I think our community sees there is a hunger need."
Sahf said the increased donations will mean an increase in the allocations from Minnesota Food Share and the Feinstein Challenge. In turn, this will help keep the food shelf stocked throughout the year.
"It'll help so much," said Sahf. "Because there are times when our shelves get very, very low."
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