CHUM Recieves $12,000 Donation from Essentia to Kick Off Minnesota FoodShare Month

DULUTH, MN – To kick off Minnesota FoodShare month, CHUM Foodshelf received a big donation from a community partner. Essentia Health made a $12,000 cash donation to CHUM.   The money comes from a percentage of the hospital’s operating costs with the goal of it going into community health programs to prevent illnesses and health issues.  In this case, CHUM will use the money from Essentia to purchase food shares from local Community Supported Agriculture farms to get fresh produce for their inventory.

“Within food shelves and food pantries in the area, we don’t often see a lot of fresh produce. And so being able to provide funding to provide that and to work into that system fresh produce, fresh veggies, fresh fruits, it’s really a great thing that we can do to help connect people with those local food options,” said Russell Habermann, Community Health Program Manager at Essentia Health.

Last year, CHUM invested $27,000 into local CSA farms to try and get produce for their clients where many live in apartments and don’t have the ability, or the land to grow it themselves.  With the success of that program, CHUM is looking to increase that investment to $60,000 this year.  Officials say Essentia’s donation is a great start to achieving that goal by the end of March.

“The $12,000 that Essentia has given us today is a huge step forward in that, just in the shear amount of shares that this is gonna buy really puts us that far ahead of the game when it comes to the end of the month.  We’ll hopefully be able to purchase all $60,000 worth of shares and get about 10 to 12 thousand pounds of fresh, locally grown produce into the hands of people that need it,” said CHUM Director of Distributive Services Scott Van Daele.

CHUM’s shelves get pretty barren this time of year due to donations slowing down after the holiday season, so they rely heavily on the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign to get them through at least the middle of summer.

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