Monticello Lions Club donates $10,000 to local food shelf

A positive response to a community service organization’s summer project is helping the Monticello Help Center’s food shelf during its most critical month.

Monticello Lions Club member and past president Larry Kounkle surprised Monticello Help Center Director Sandy McClurg with a $10,000 donation earlier this month. The Lions designated $9,000 toward food shelf purchases and $1,000 toward the purchase and installation of refrigeration equipment. (Submitted Photo)

Monticello Lions Club member and past president Larry Kounkle surprised Monticello Help Center Director Sandy McClurg with a $10,000 donation earlier this month. The Lions designated $9,000 toward food shelf purchases and $1,000 toward the purchase and installation of refrigeration equipment. (Submitted Photo)

Larry Kounkle, current Lions member and past president, surprised Director Sandy McClurg with a $10,000 donation. The check was cut from 2012 Monticello Lions Brewfest event proceeds.
Wes Olson, Monticello Lions past president, brought the project to the Monticello Lions Board of Directors earlier this month. The Lions designated $9,000 toward purchasing food and $1,000 toward the purchase and installation of refrigeration equipment.
“This donation came as a welcome surprise. We are so lucky to have this kind of generous support from the Lions, especially during our March campaign,” McClurg said. “We receive about one-third of our total funding for the year during this campaign, which includes additional funding from Minnesota FoodShare.”
A program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Minnesota FoodShare is a strong advocate in the grassroots effort to feed families in poverty. Each March, Minnesota FoodShare directs the state’s largest food drive restocks almost 300 food shelves statewide. It recruits thousands of congregations, companies, schools and community groups to help out.
The Monticello community’s fantastic food shelf support last year served 2,785 households (9,783 individuals) and distributed 290,455 pounds of food. Forty-four percent of those receiving assistance were children. March is one of the most important months for your local food shelf.
For more than 30 years, Minnesota FoodShare has coordinated the largest food and fund drive in Minnesota. According to McClurg, this year’s challenge involves raising enough food and money to translate into half the statewide food shelf distribution need. The challenge runs from March 1 to April 7.
During the 2012 March campaign, the Monticello Food Shelf received 9,437 pounds of food and $31,315 in donations. In addition, during the March campaign, McClurg said the food shelf received additional funds from the Minnesota Food Share Fund and Feinstein Foundation- $2,745 from Minnesota Food Share and $352 from the Feinstein Foundation.
McClurg said it’s important for the public to remember that for every $1 donated, the food shelf can provide seven meals to needy families and individuals.
Olson said the Monticello Lions Club has set an Aug. 17 for Brewfest 2013. Last year’s event had a profit of just over $21,000, with 100 percent of the proceeds being returned to the community. “Not a dime is used for our local club,” Olson said.
Last year’s Brewfest was well-received, with more than 990 people walking through the gate, Olson said. The Lions support a number of priority projects each year. Their efforts center on hearing, sight and Leader Dog programs. “These are the areas where we use our pull tab money,” Olson said. “When we run an event such as Brewfest, Fishermans’ Fun Night, or pancake breakfasts, we use those funds for scholarships, the food shelf, christmas food baskets and the Monticello Cancer Center wig program. The local club currently has 92 members.
According to Olson, last year, 103 different craft beers were available for Brewfest tasting. This year’s goal is 150. “We will be printing 1,500 tickets; when we are sold out, we will not allow any more in the park,” Olson said.
Live music performers will be on hand along with seven different food vendors. “We’ll also have shuttle bus stops to and from various hot spots in Monticello to accommodate parking,” he said. Visit montilionsbrewfest.com for more about this year’s event.

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at tim.hennagir@ecm-inc.com

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