ST. CLOUD -- All donations made to the Salvation Army food shelf in July will essentially be doubled, thanks to a challenge grant by a Minnesota nonprofit organization.

Minneapolis-based Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless will match all cash donations dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 until the end of this month.

Shannon Smithers of the Salvation Army says food shelf donations are always needed, especially in the summer months.

"It's incredibly important to have this [match grant] in the summertime," Smithers says. "We're not getting the donations like we do during the holiday season, so the food shelves really start running low on what they're able to give."

Smithers says summertime donations are also especially important because school is out and many kids are not be getting the necessary number of meals in a given day.

"Children are not getting breakfast and lunch in school -- they're at home," Smither says. "[Some] families that are on a fixed income can't always afford to feed their kids three decent meals a day."

The match grant from last summer raised over $12,000 and Smithers says they aim to beat that number this year.

"Our goal is always to beat the [total from] the year before," Smithers says. "Our food shelf is serving over 25 percent more than last year, so we'd love to [raise] 25 percent more than last year."

So far this month, Smithers says they have raised about $9,000 so far -- roughly three-quarters of the way to their goal.

"We are on track," Smithers says. "It seems like the more the month goes on, the more people start thinking about it and hearing about it and so far, we;re doing well."

To donate, you can visit the Salvation Army's website, mail or drop off a check at their location on Highway 10 in St. Cloud. Smithers reminds everyone that cash donations are preferred.

"We love receiving food donations -- we never turn [them] down -- but the matching grant is for cash donations only," Smithers says.

Along with St. Cloud, the Open Your Heart foundation also issued challenge grants to food shelves across the state, including Albert Lea, Brainerd, Duluth, and the Twin Cities.