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Give thanks — and give What Channel One needs is cash support

On this holiday of thanks, when so many of us will enjoy a large if not fine meal, Channel One will quietly go one about its business distributing food to folks and families who need it.

While it might be expected that the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving, would coincide with a seasonal surge in demand for food assistance, such is not the case.

The demand for food remains relatively constant throughout the year, with the only real increase in need coming during the summer months when children are out of school and the lunch programs are shut down. This speaks volumes of the need for school lunch programs.

On average, some 2,800 area families per month use the local food shelf, with about 4,500 registered users. Registered includes people or families who might have needed one-time or occasional assistance to bridge a gap in income.

As an aside, think what it means to have an "income gap." It’s a soft phrase that means there is no money to buy food. Without a place like Channel One to turn, a "gap" means the kids are going hungry. That is just not acceptable in this state.

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There is some real good news here. Because Channel One is in place and making accessible some 5 million pounds of food through its food bank, and some 2.1 million pounds of food in the local food shelf, families are not going hungry.

As a reference, the food bank is the mechanism that Channel One uses to distribute food to area non-profits such as the Salvation Army. The food shelf — it’s actually several "shelves" in different locations — is in place to provide a direct service to Olmsted County residents.

There is more good news. Channel One is meeting demand. This is so because it is successful at "rescuing" food from industrial manufacturers. It’s here where the vast majority of the food comes from. Only 10 percent of the food comes from local donations.

What Channel One needs is cash support. Currently, Channel One receives roughly $1 million in cash donations to run the system that makes available $5.8 million worth of food.

So go ahead, send some cash. Go to channel–one.org for details on how to give (remember the dash before the one). It’s the right thing to do.

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