June 15, 2024

Remember local food shelves this Christmas

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“We are farmers and used to feeding people,” said Deb Lacey.  Deb and Brian Lacey farm northwest of Wendell. Perhaps that’s why Deb Lacey is a perfect fit as director of the Grant County Emergency Food Shelf in Elbow Lake and the Hoffman-Kensington Food Shelf in Hoffman,

The Grant County Emergency Food Shelf is located on East Highway #79, Elbow Lake, and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. or by appointment.

The Hoffman-Kensington Food Shelf is located in the northeast corner of the former Hoffman School, and is open Tuesdays from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m and Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Both welcome anyone from the immediate area to come in and get food. There are no income requirements. In Elbow Lake, you will be brought a box of canned goods, boxed goods, meat when available, produce, and fruit. In Hoffman, you can use a shopping cart to pick up what you need.

Recently, the food shelves have added programs to better serve people. The newest addition is the Frozen Meals program through a partnership with Nutrition Services.

Through the Frozen Meals program, seniors can receive a frozen meal, Tuesdays and Thursdays, consisting of a main entree, vegetable, bread, milk, and fruit. The meal is then heated at home. Kids can even pick up the frozen meals for their grandparents or shut-ins. You can offer a free will donation, but none is required.

The Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS) program is  geared towards lower income  people in the area,  who can pick up a box of USDA commodities, including cheese, on Tuesdays or Thursdays at either food shelf location. The commodities are free but you must meet income guidelines.

Because so many schools were shuttered last year for the pandemic, the popular Backpack program has changed. Under this program, school children could go home on Fridays with a backpack full of food to get their families through the weekend. The Backpack program is still being offered but through the two local food shelves. Parents can come in and say they need a backpack and volunteers will fill a bag full of food for you and your children.

For more information on any of these programs, call Deb Lacey at 701-640-9806, or email <bdlacey@runestone.net>.

Lacey partners with Darrel’s Full Service Foods, Hoffman, and Miller’s Fresh Foods in Elbow Lake for deals on canned and boxed foods, vegetables and fruits, cereals and breads, and with local butcher shops for meats. Every two weeks, the USDA delivers fresh milk to the food shelves. The food shelves also partner with WCA Schools for apples from their orchard and fresh lettuce from their greenhouse. They plan to expand this partnership when the big new greenhouse is finished next year.

“Fresh produce and meat are the toughest and most expensive to get,” said Lacey, adding that because of the drought out west, most produce comes from  Mexico and simply cannot be as fresh as produce grown closer to Minnesota.

While there are no income guidelines for most food shelf programs, food shelf volunteers don’t ask questions and serve anyone who comes to them.

“We are here to do the Lord’s work,” Lacey said.

Cash donations to the food shelves are always welcome, as Lacey can leverage those dollars to purchase more than you might expect.

And, while Lacey is quick to praise the work of the food shelves many dedicated volunteers, “We can always use more.”

Once again, call Lacey at 701-640-9806 with questions, or information on how to donate this Christmas season.

One easy way to donate is to watch the virtual CP Holiday Train concert, on December 18. Canadian Music Hall-of-Famer Steven Page and The Strumbellas will lead an all-star cast of performers for the 2021 “Holiday Train at Home” concert.  The concert will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube, and the CP Holiday Train web page <www.cpr.ca/en/community/holiday-train> on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m.

During the concert you will hear information on how to donate to your food shelf.

The Grant County Emergency Food Shelf and the Hoffman-Kensington Food Shelf have also partnered with all local churches to accept donations.

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