Photo courtesy of Annalise Braught/Bemidji Pioneer
The 30th Annual Stuff A Truck Drive, sponsored by the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, the Bemidji Pioneer, Bemidji Area Schools and Marketplace Foods, was a huge success in 2021 with 12,700 pounds of food and $10,512 in cash delivered to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf.
On Monday, Dan Nickerson rolled his semi up to the Food Shelf where a large number of volunteers were on hand to unload the truck and sort the food for use in the Food Shelf. According to Food Shelf Board Member Gloria Collyard, the Stuff A Truck campaign comes at a crucial time of year. The cold weather months and holiday season bring increased use of the Food Shelf.
Covid 19 put a large dent in Stuff A Truck donations last year as several schools were not meeting in person. It was then that Marketplace changed its in store program. They had packed grocery bags with needed items in years past and shoppers could purchase them for $10 to donate to Stuff A Truck. But, to keep things as hands free and socially distant as possible, they had the bags on display, but rather than actually purchasing food, it was an actual $10 donation to the program. That continued this year.
Cash donations allow the food shelf to buy bulk, which allows them to get much more for $10 than an average shopper can. In addition, cash allows the Food Shelf to purchase items that may be in demand but hasn’t been donated in large enough numbers.
The $10,512 in cash donations was the largest in the 30 year history of Stuff A Truck by several thousand dollars. Kev Jackson had the chance to discuss the Food Shelf and the impact of Stuff A Truck with Board member Gloria Collyard: