By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
“This is by far the largest single donation we have ever received. This is going to help so many needy families. I really don’t even know what to say, but thank you to everyone who made this possible.”
That was the way Semcac Caledonia Food Shelf Manager Iyla Mulvenna described her feelings as she was presented with two checks totalling $59,126.28 on March 27.
The checks were presented by Tyler Engen of the Caledonia Masonic Lodge #20 and Dolores Link of the Aidenn Chapter 86 of the Eastern Star.
The funds were a result of a two-for-one matching grant challenge administered by the Minnesota Masonic Charities, the philanthropic organization of the Minnesota Masonic family.
The challenge was announced late last year and the Caledonia area responded in a very big way. From December through February almost $30,000 was donated locally.
“The success of this fund drive shows the commitment the residents of Houston County have to their food shelf,” Engen noted. “The Masons and Eastern Star of Caledonia are proud to be a part of this community and are so appreciative for its support. Tremendous gratitude is also expressed to Minnesota Masonic Charities for its double-matching grant.
“Thanks to their affiliation with this great organization, even though the Caledonia Masons and Star are small in number, we were still able to make a big impact,” Engen added.
While the national media reports that our economy is improving, the need at the local food shelf continues to grow, according to Mulvenna.
“We’ve already served 220 families this year and we’re not through March yet,” she said last week. “In all of 2011, we served 339 families. If the trend continues, we will nearly triple what we served last year. That is why this donation and every donation, no matter how small, really does help the lives of others,” Mulvenna stated.