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Stuff-A-Truck donations delivered to Bemidji Community Food Shelf for 30th year

The Bemidji Community Food Shelf was a buzz of activity on Monday morning as staff and volunteers gathered to unload the yearly Stuff-A-Truck donations.

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Staff and volunteers from Marketplace Foods and the Bemidji Community Food Shelf are pictured on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, with donations collected throughout the annual Stuff-A-Truck campaign benefiting the food shelf. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Community Food Shelf was a buzz of activity on Monday morning as staff and volunteers gathered to unload the yearly Stuff-A-Truck donations.

This marks the 30th year for the annual campaign benefiting the food shelf.

Once again, Marketplace Foods, local schools and other partners came together to raise money and gather food donations. This year, the event started on Oct. 25 and continued through Dec. 10 with a total of 12,700 pounds of food and other items collected and $10,512 gathered in monetary donations.

According to Sara Moran, executive assistant of Johanneson's, the parent company of Marketplace Foods, once the donations were sorted they totaled about 18 pallets to be brought to the food shelf.

“We had a lot more cash donations this year than usual, so our poundage of donations was down a little but we had almost double what we had last year for cash, so it kind of evens out,” she added.

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Once this year’s Stuff-A-Truck donations were sorted, they totaled 18 pallets to be brought to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

Marketplace Store Director Brandon Granmo said a contributing factor to the increase in dollars versus food was because of a change the store made due to the pandemic last year and stuck with it again this year.

“In years past we actually made up bags of donations worth $10, and so to keep with the same look and feel, we had bags on display at the store, but it’s actually getting converted into cash donations,” Granmo said. “With COVID we wanted to make everything safer and the food shelf had fewer volunteers to help with sorting and all that, so it was a better option for everyone to have those cash donations.”

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Marketplace Store Director Brandon Granmo moves a pallet of Stuff-A-Truck donations on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

From the food shelf’s perspective, they appreciate the monetary donations as they are able to make dollars go a bit further with bulk food ordering options.

“There are also certain things we have to have, like peanut butter and beans, so those donations give us the opportunity that if we are short on something then we can buy what we need,” explained Gloria Collyard, a food shelf board member and volunteer.

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Dan Nickerson of Nickerson Ltd. moves a pallet of Stuff-A-Truck donations forward to be unloaded on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

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A total of 12,700 pounds of food and other items and $10,512 in monetary donations were collected during the annual Stuff-A-Truck campaign benefiting the Bemidji Community Food Shelf. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

Collyard said they also appreciate the fun surprises that come with physical donations, too.

“It gives the people coming in and using the food shelf more versatility, like if you’re going to do some Christmas baking you might need some extra stuff,” she said. “You can see there are some treats and candy, and we don’t usually carry a lot of that because we try to stay more nutritional, so it gives families a chance to get those little extras.”

As food shelf warehouse manager Ed Burger used a forklift to unload the last pallet, Collyard expressed the food shelf’s thankfulness to the community for the immense blessing the donations will be to so many in the area.

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Ed Burger, Bemidji Community Food Shelf warehouse manager, unloads a pallet of Stuff-A-Truck donations on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, at the food shelf. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)

“This adds so much choice, especially this time of year around the holidays, it’s so wonderful to have so many more choices for our clients,” Collyard said. “Seeing all these pallets of food brought in is so much more dynamic than simply hearing the numbers and thinking of how many mouths it can feed is just amazing.”

Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or abraught@bemidjipioneer.com.
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