A Cutting Edge Food Shelf (2017)

By Trip Sullivan (2017)

Since 2010, Shepherd of the Valley has partnered with 360 Communities to operate Our Daily Bread Food Shelf in our church building. Did you know our food shelf is considered at the cutting edge of food shelves? Over the past year, we’ve hit many milestones in our quest to squash hunger in Dakota County:

  • †We are a “Choice Model” food shelf which means families can shop for their own groceries.
  • Thanks to new partnerships with Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and now Fresh Thyme, we are receiving a lot more food to fill our shelves. This is “rescue food” – produce, dairy, meat, bakery, and other items that would otherwise be wasted.
  • †Spending less on food at food banks allowed us to purchase new equipment. We now have three fridges and three freezers!
  • †Renovations over the summer allowed the food shelf to have its own dedicated space.
  • †All of these factors have enabled the food shelf to offer a larger variety of healthier foods. We now offer milk, eggs, several varieties of meat, several choices of fruits and vegetables, bread, and much more.

Ways to support our food shelf:
1. Bring a food item or two (or whole bag) with you to church each week
2. Make monetary donation to help purchase additional food.
3. Organize a neighborhood food drive.
4. Tell others!
Thank you for your support!

Before the Choice Model, volunteers used to pack groceries for clients before they came in. Now when clients come in for 20 minute appointments, volunteers work alongside them as they shop. Volunteers love having more interaction with clients, and clients love being able to choose the items that best meet their family’s needs.

Being a healthier food shelf is important. Of clients who use 360 Community food shelves, 67% suffer from diabetes or heart issues. Healthy food is also more expensive, and thus harder for our clients to obtain. Making healthier foods available is only the first step. That’s why volunteers work with clients to provide recipes, education and resources as needed. We’ve also begun a new partnership with the University of Minnesota who is doing research, taking inventory of our items, surveying clients, and training volunteers to help us be even more at the top of our game.

Our March 2017 Food Drive is now underway. Many of us have more than enough. When you go shopping this month, pick up an extra bag of some non-perishable items each time. It will add up! And it will feed the hungry.

If we reach the goal of collecting $6,000 and 8,000 pounds of food, your pastors pledge to engage in a display of public silliness (exact details to be determined). Just a little bonus on top of your faithfulness. Thank you for your support!

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