Food drive profile: Donations help father care for two adult sons with mental disabilities

Feb 23, 2022

Your donations to The Salvation Army’s March Food Drive help Minnesotans like Matthew (video at bottom). 

Matthew, 61, relies on The Salvation Army’s food pantry in Burnsville to feed himself and his two adult sons, both of whom struggle with mental disabilities. One lives with schizophrenia, and the other, autism.    

“It’s not easy taking care of the both of them,” Matthew said. “It’s super challenging.”

Even more challenging: Matthew is disabled after a lifetime of working as a mechanic. 

“I’ve had five spine surgeries,” he said. “After the last surgery, they said you’re done (working).”

Matthew has lived off of disability benefits for the last seven years. After his bills are paid, there is little money left to pay for anything else.

“It’s not enough to afford food,” Matthew said. “And I’m diabetic, so my diet is tricky.”

Although life is not easy for Matthew and his sons, they find a way to make it work – including regular visits to their local Salvation Army food pantry. 

“They feed us good – really good,” Matthew said. “Every time we visit, it stocks our fridge for two weeks. We take everything they give – the meat, the produce, the bread.”

The Salvation Army operates 22 food shelves and 13 hot meals programs in Minnesota, providing nutritious food for tens of thousands of people like Matthew. 

The Salvation Army’s March food drive aims to raise 2 million pounds of food, equal to about 1.2 million meals. That’s about 25 percent of the meals The Salvation Army Northern Division distributes annually.  

Matthew and thousands of other local food shelf guests appreciate your donations to The Salvation Army.

“We are so thankful,” he said. “My son says he wants to ring the bell and dress as Santa Claus next Christmas.”

Get Involved

Please help The Salvation Army raise 2 million pounds of food by donating nonperishables, hosting a food drive, giving a cash donation, or volunteering. 

Donate food: In the Twin Cities, drop off nonperishable foods March 2-31 at any SPIRE Credit Union, Schuler Shoes, Morrie’s auto dealer, Salvation Army Store or participating Cub grocery store. See a map of all drop-off locations

In greater Minnesota, drop off nonperishable foods at your local Salvation Army Worship & Service Center anytime in March. 

(High-demand foods include pasta, rice, and peanut butter, plus canned items such as fruit, veggies, and soup.)

Host a food drive: Collect nonperishable foods from friends, neighbors, coworkers, church members, and others. We will send you a Food Drive Starter Kit that includes tips and promotional materials for your website or social media. 

When you’ve finished your collection, bring your food to The Salvation Army’s headquarters in Roseville on Saturday, April 2 for a special drive-thru weigh-in event. (Read about successful grassroots food drives from last year’s collection.) 

Buy a Star Tribune newspaper on Sunday, March 13: Inside the newspaper you’ll find a brown paper bag. Fill the bag with nonperishable foods and bring it to a participating Cub grocery store. See a map of all drop-off locations.

Give a cash donation: Help us feed hungry families by donating online at A gift of just $50 feeds 69 people for a day.

Volunteer: Got extra time? Support our food drive by helping us unload delivery vehicles, weigh food, stock shelves, and more. Sign up to volunteer now

Additional food drive sponsors include WCCO and KS95.



Recent Stories

Get Involved
Share Your Story

We would love to hear about your experience with The Salvation Army.

Share My Story


A gift to The Salvation Army helps someone in your community.

Give Now



Do Good in your community

Find Worship

Join us throughout the week for worship, fellowship, Bible study, meals, community service and fun.