Throughout the month of July, Home Federal Savings Bank in Spring Valley invited their members to help stock up the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf, as part of their client appreciation event.  The month ended with the Franks for Thanks picnic, which had over 120 attendees.    PAULA VAGTS/ SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Throughout the month of July, Home Federal Savings Bank in Spring Valley invited their members to help stock up the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf, as part of their client appreciation event. The month ended with the Franks for Thanks picnic, which had over 120 attendees. PAULA VAGTS/ SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The Spring Valley Area Food Shelf is now assisting 200 local families, but it isn't doing it alone. As board member Carol Gross explained, the Spring Valley community is always helping with food drives and donations throughout the year.

The latest act of kindness came in the form of Home Federal Savings Bank's customer appreciation event. Throughout the month of July the bank asked customers to drop off non-perishable food items to help stock up the local food shelf.

And the customers delivered, donating a total of 201 pounds of food for the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf.

And it wasn't just the members that got into the giving act. The bank staff also donated many items. According to Kay Nelson, if employees brought in three canned items they were able to wear jeans to work on Friday.

Nelson went on to say that she is very appreciative and thankful for the participation of the members and staff alike.

The summer months tend to be crucial months for most food shelves, including Spring Valley's. This is due to the loss of the free or reduced-priced lunches some families rely on during the school year, so the families turn to the help of the food shelf to help make ends meet during these months.

Unfortunately, the summer months usually mean a dip in donations for shelves as people get busy with vacations and other summer activities.

But, this summer relief is on the way for 288 food shelves across Minnesota. In March, the Minnesota FoodShare held its 31st annual event, which raised more that $8.3 million and received almost 4 million pounds of food. Now these food shelves will be receiving their portion of $775,000, which came directly from donations received by the Minnesota FoodShare during the month of March.

The Spring Valley food shelf has had to deal with more than just food this year. The shelf was opened in the former Kasten farmhouse in December of 2008. The farmhouse now needs a new roof as well as repairs, including structural issues with the front porch. Earlier this year, the water heater broke, leaving the basement flooded and damaging the furnace.

Gross said they are not looking for a new building at this point because the city owns the current building and is able to provide plowing and some property maintenance, which saves the shelf money.

But, it is possible to donate buildings as charitable donations, Gross explained.

For more information on the Spring Valley Area Food Shelf and how to donate, email svfoodshelf@yahoo.com, or call Spring Valley's city hall at (507) 346-7367.