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Help end hunger with a trip to local grocery store

The Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA) is encouraging consumers to help their neighbors struggling with hunger by going to the grocery store and participating in "Minnesota's Own" in October. All food and monetary contributions collected in the store will go to community food banks and shelves to benefit local families.

"Minnesota's Own" is a three-way partnership among grocers, their vendors and consumers aimed at increasing donations to Minnesota food shelves. The Minnesota Grocers Association is coordinating the program across the state. Last year "Minnesota's Own" campaign provided nearly 3 million meals to hungry families in Minnesota.

"Our grocers and their vendor partners share consumers' concerns for providing food and other necessities to local families in need," said Jamie Pfuhl, president of the Minnesota Grocers Association. "The participating retailers and vendors are pleased to bring 'Minnesota's Own' to our communities, to help increase donations to their local food shelves and to benefit area families during these difficult economic times."

Grocers will offer ways for consumers to participate in "Minnesota's Own," including some of the following options:

--Food Drive - buy items in the store and donate them to local food shelves.

--Change for Hunger - customers may round up their purchase total to the nearest dollar and contribute the difference to feed local families.

--Grocery Bag Icons - for as little as $1, $3 or $5, customers may contribute to food shelves at the register and sign a grocery bag icon that will be displayed prominently in the store.

On October 3, ads will begin running in the Alexandria, Brainerd, Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester, St. Cloud and St. Paul newspapers. These ads highlight retailers and vendors and encourage consumers to shop at participating stores and look for product displays with the "Minnesota's Own" logo. Purchasing products from these companies will benefit community food banks and shelves.

"During this time of economic challenge, 'Minnesota's Own' provides an excellent opportunity to increase awareness of a social issue that affects all of our communities," said Jamie Pfuhl. "By raising funds, increasing public support and promoting local food shelf donations, the Minnesota retail food industry and consumers truly can make a difference in the fight to end hunger."