Food pantries in Becker County are seeing a surge in demand compared to last year.

DETROIT LAKES — We have good news and bad news about the increased demand at the Becker County Food Pantry.

The bad news is that demand has increased since last year. Food Pantry executive his director Brad Carlson said:

“That sounds pretty bad,” he added, but the good news is that current levels are “only about 75% of what they were before COVID. In the pre-COVID situation, the numbers are still down.”

So while the Food Pantry isn’t in dire need of donations right now, it does need at least one early riser volunteer to replace the man retiring after 80.

“You need someone willing to wake up at 7am and go to the local store and pick up mostly bread, possibly eggs, etc., usually under £20,” says Carlson. Volunteers or volunteers drive to retail stores such as Central Market, Walmart, and Aldis each week to pick up perishable goods.

According to Carlson, the daily pick-up volunteers were faithful pick-ups 50 weeks out of the year. “He only took two weeks off for deer hunting, which is pretty dedication,” he added.

“It would really help if we could find someone who could work one or two days a week,” he said. “I can share some.”

The Becker County Food Pantry will soon celebrate its 40th anniversary of fighting hunger in the community. And with inflation at its worst in his 40 years, pantry volunteers are in high demand for food and supplies.

It doesn’t help that many relief programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have ended. For example, the “Farm to Table” project, which distributed food and supplies by semi-truck to hundreds of families in the area, has ended.

Also, the federal exemption program that provides free school meals for all children, regardless of income, has expired, and Ruby’s Pantry, a monthly ration where families pay $20 for their “share” of surplus food. It has ceased operations in Becker County.

“We are the only pantry in Becker County,” Carlson said, but fortunately White Earth Reservation operates pantries in Manomen County.

The Becker County Food Pantry at the Detroit Lakes fairgrounds provides food once a month to those in need, Carlson said. “We typically run out £30,000 to £33,000 per month,” he added. “It’s been going well this month, with about 300 families participating.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m., the Food Pantry distributes carts full of groceries and supplies to Becker County households.

Lines for food often form by 10am. Some arrive by motorbike. Some are homeless and live in their cars. Many are families with two working parents who need help to support their household finances. Pantry volunteers have noticed many new customers in recent months. This shows that inflation may be taking its toll.

In May of this year, The Pantry distributed 35,414 pounds of food to 1,169 people. This is an increase of 600 for him compared to May 2021. Customers are asked to bring mailings with a physical address showing they live in Becker County (homeless people do not need mailings). No need to get a voucher anymore.

The Food Pantry opened on July 8, 1982, with food and supplies distributed by the current Senior Center on the lower floors of the Historic Holmes Theater. A lot has changed since then.

Clients first had to secure vouchers from social services and local churches. Storage was limited and no produce or perishables were distributed. In 1999, the city proposed using the old waterworks at the fairgrounds as a new home for the food pantry, which still exists today. Expanding reach and service, the customer base has grown by over 500% over the last 20 years.

Food pantries play a vital role in food rescue and waste reduction. Aldi, Central Market, or Walmart donate expired products, surplus produce, or egg cartons with cracked eggs to the pantry. Thanks to these food retailers, as well as KFC and other local restaurants and stores, the Food Pantry salvages and distributes over 10,000 pounds of perfectly delicious food each month.

The Pantry also purchases groceries and supplies through a contract with Central Market and through the North Country Food Bank, which offers federally subsidized food for as little as 10 cents per pound.

Donations of preserved food and fresh food from citizens are also sorted and distributed to those in need.

At big events like the Carnival Collection at the Becker County Fair, thousands of pounds of food fill the shelves.

Food pantry volunteers make all of this possible. Collecting and distributing food each week requires more than 150 volunteer hours per week.

Do you have energy to burn out? New volunteers are very much appreciated, especially for semi-truck unloading days and jobs that require heavy lifting. Volunteers can work on-call or on set schedules. Call Brad Carlson at 218-846-0142.

The food pantry has grown beyond the space of the fairgrounds and is working on the construction of a new food distribution center. Funded primarily by his $500,000 donation from Becker County and federal funding for the Detroit Lakes, the new facility more than doubles his food storage capacity, enables handicap access, and provides safety. will improve.

Food Pantry has signed a deal with the city to purchase land off Terry Street on the north side of Detroit Lakes, but has not yet purchased the property, Carlson said.

The original construction schedule called for a groundbreaking ceremony in early 2023, but Carlson said on Monday that “a lack of water and sewerage[at the site]and a shortage of contractors could delay construction.” We are asking for 2 to 3 times the initial amount. Estimates for construction projects.

“We have to wait,” Carlson said. “Right now we’re in rush-and-wait mode.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *