The annual Steele County Hometown Sampler takes place this weekend. The event kicks off Minnesota Food Share Month. In March, money raised by the food shelf is eligible for matching funds.

Showtimes at the Little Theatre of Owatonna are 7PM Friday, March 3, 3PM and 7PM Saturday, March 4, and 2PM Sunday, March 5. The shows run about two hours and will feature the talents of Bad Tangerines, The Gogs, Hot n Bothered and Mile 5 Band. Dave Otto and John Havelka will once again serve as emcees.

Executive Director Nancy Ness reports quite an uptick in disbursements in 2016 versus 2015: 185 more households, which translates into 1,058 more people receiving assistance from the food shelf in 2016 than in 2015. About 29,000 more pounds of food were given out. The Steele County Food Shelf, with a grant from Hunger Solutions, recently purchased a van to start off their Meals in Motion program. The objective of this venture is to get food to shut-ins and elderly who are in need of food.

It's hoped this year's Sampler will top last year's $138,000 and 27,600 pounds of food.