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Emergency food shelf approaches county with funding request

The McLeod County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday took under advisement a request from the McLeod Emergency Food Shelf for $44,000 in funding for 2017.
Lloyd Graupmann of the food shelf board of directors said this is the first time the food shelf has approached the county for assistance in funding.
Graupmann said the need for the food shelf continues to grow, even as resources shrink. Graupmann said the economic recession that started in 2008-2009 continues to have a rippling effect, with the need for food continuing to increase each year.
In fact, said Graupmann, 15 percent of the county’s population is making use of the food shelf.
“Fifteen percent … that is a staggering amount,” commented McLeod County Commissioner Sheldon Nies.
Graupmann said that before the recession set in, the food shelf was fortunate enough to be able to invest some of its donated cash into long-term certificates of deposit (CDs).
Those reserves have been used up as the food shelf bought food it needed to serve the public. The purchased food filled the gap between the need and the food that was donated by a variety of sources.
Graupmann said the food shelf operated at a $53,485 loss in 2015, and is now using money from a bequest from the Geraldine Tews’ estate to fund its needs. It had losses in each of the four previous years, also.
He added that the operating debt was because of the increased demand on the food shelf, not because the food shelf has increased expenses for employees, buildings or other items.
In fact, Graupmann said, the food shelf has been commended by a variety of organizations for its economic efficiency. Not quite 97 percent of its budget is strictly for the collection and distribution of food; 3.3 percent is used for administration. The food shelf, which has locations in Glencoe and Hutchinson, has four employees and over 100 volunteers.
Nies said the request will need to be taken back to the county’s budget committee.