March is officially Minnesota FoodShare Month, a campaign that started in 1982 in the Twin Cities metro area and exploded into a statewide event the next year.
Basically, the month is the single largest statewide drive for donations of food and money to food banks throughout the state. Combined with Second Harvest, a large food bank, the March donations go even further because massive donations this month determine what Second Harvest doles out throughout the year to local food shelves.
The food bank system we know today (I'm sure there was something similar at some time previously) has come a long way since the 1960s, when a man named John Van Hengel began volunteering at a soup kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona. Van Hengel sought donations of food from local grocery stores. He set up a warehouse to store and distribute donated products.
In 1976, Van Hengel's food bank received federal assistance to develop banks across the nation, according to hungernwnc.org. Federal funding ended in 1982, but that's when America's Second Harvest stepped in to fill the void.
Second Harvest reported that in 2018, the state raised $8.1 million and 5.5 million pounds of food during FoodShare Month. Time will only tell how this year's FoodShare Month will pan out, but with help, it should be a great help to those in need.
In that spirit, here are some recipes that can be made with foods you might find at a food shelf.
Chicken Salad Sandwich
- 1 5-ounce can of chicken
- 1-2 tablespoons of mayo
- 2-3 baby pickles, diced
- 1 dash rosemary
- 1 dash garlic salt or lemon pepper
- Bread (toasted or not)
To improve the color of the chicken before mixing it, empty the can into a bowl and microwave the chicken, covered, for about one minute. Allow it to cool before mixing in all ingredients except bread and lettuce. Serve on bread with lettuce.
Fried Tuna Patties
- 3 5-ounce cans of tuna
- 10 tablespoons of crumbled saltine crackers, bread crumbs or ground plain cereal (cornflakes, rice crispies, etc.)
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 2 eggs
- ½ small onion, diced
- Oil for frying
Combine all ingredients except tuna. Fold this into the tuna and mix well. Once well incorporated, form into patties. Fry until golden brown, about five minutes per side.
Easy Chicken Nachos
- 1 5-ounce can chicken chunks
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- ¼ can tomatoes and chili peppers
- 1 small can black olives (optional)
- Enough tortilla chips to cover the bottom of a plate
- Shredded cheese
Cover a plate with tortilla chips. Open and drain a can of tomatoes and chili peppers. Open the can of chicken and sprinkle in the taco seasoning. Mix thoroughly before sprinkling the seasoned chicken chunks over the chips, followed by the drained tomatoes and chili peppers, black olives and cheese. Microwave 45 seconds or until the cheese melts. Serve with salsa and sour cream.