Local food shelves are seeing increases in usage from last year

November 19, 2007

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Many families who are less fortunate this season will depend on the kindness of others for a meal.

In Wright County, demand is up by 20 percent, and donations are not matching that increase, according to Shirley Legatt, special projects coordinator.

There are several reasons the food shelf has seen an increase in use. Legatt has seen a rise in one-time users who may have unexpected costs such as a car repair or medical expenses, she said.

Also, with the gas prices and high utility costs, people are trying to adjust, she added.

To prevent people from abusing the system and to help those truly in need, there is an income eligibility requirements of a monthly gross income less than $2,151 per household.

“We don’t want to be a hand-out. We try to work with them to resolve the crisis and [provide] assistance with other local resources,” Legatt said. This could include energy assistance, for example.

Also last year, more than 100 food baskets were provided for the holiday season – each a $25 value. Both food and monetary donations will be accepted during operating hours, from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The Wright County Community Action, located in downtown Waverly, supplies not only food, but also clothing.

Last year it served 517 households, and 1,739 individuals in the towns of Waverly, Montrose, and Howard Lake.

In Waconia, they are lucky to receive the “Stuff the Truck,” bounty courtesy of Mackenthun’s, said volunteer coordinator Kathy Bruckbauer.

That means for the time being that they are in good shape to meet the rising tide of families who need their services, she said.

But it won’t last forever, and they are signing up five to six new families every week, she said.

This year, they served 153 families so far, which is compared to 116 families in 2005.

About 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of food is moved through Waconia in a month, she added.

For Carver residents, there are food shelves that operate out of the city hall basement in Norwood Young America, in Waconia on Elm St., as well as the Watertown Food Shelf.

Waterown “Friends for Life” Food Shelf, located at the City Hall building at 309 Lewis Ave. S. (enter on south side of building). Their schedule is Mondays 6-8 p.m.; Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m.-Noon, Call (952) 955-1980. Appointments are necessary.

In Watertown, the food shelf is called “Friends for Life” Food Shelf and is located at the city hall building at 309 Lewis Ave. S. (enter on south side of building). Their schedule runs Mondays 6-8 p.m.; Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m.-noon, Call (952) 955-1980. Appointments are necessary.

The Cokato Area Food Shelf, located at Elim Mission Church on Broadway Avenue, served 203 families and 705 individuals last year in the Dassel-Cokato area, according to Russ Irvin, food shelf co-coordinator.

Persons in need must call and sign up at the church office from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and Thursday before noon for the Friday pickup at 9:30 a.m.

People are allowed to use it once a month and on a needs basis only.

This year, the Cokato food shelf will not be donating Christmas baskets to local families, but they are packing Christmas boxes.

The boxes will include food items and a voucher for the Marketplace to purchase items such as fresh meat, vegetables, dairy, and bread, according to Irvin.

Boxes will be packed Thursday, Dec. 13 and delivered to families Friday, Dec. 14.

The Cokato Area Food Shelf accepts both food and monetary donations.

The McLeod County Emergency Food Shelves are located in Glencoe and Hutchinson for McLeod County residents in need.

Executive Director Marietta Neumann said this is the busiest year for the food shelf, and also the lowest in donations in the 19 years she has worked there.

“The shelves are pretty darn empty,” she said.

As of the end of October, the food shelf is up 162 households from last year, she said.

In 2006, it served 1,956 families and 6,093 individuals.

Service hours are 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. There is no income eligibility.

All locations are accepting food and monetary locations. See side bar for addresses and phone numbers.

The need has increased

With the increasing costs of living, more and more people are depending on help from their local food shelves.

Cokato Area Food Shelf, locate

McLeod County Emergency Food Shelf, has two locations for county residents. The Hutchinson location is at 105 2nd Ave. S.W.; (320) 5796. TTo make a donation to your local food shelfhe Glencoe location is at 808 East 12th Str336. (Checks should be sent to the Glencoe location).

Carver County Food Shelves are located in three different cities:

• Waconia United Food Shelf, which is located at 11 Elm Street South, Waconia. Its hours are: Monday and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon; Tuesday and Thursday, 4 to 7 p.m. It is closed on Wednesdays. Their number is (952) 442-3878.

• Waterown “Friends for Life” Food Shelf, located at the city hall building at 309 Lewis Ave. S. (enter on south side of building). Their schedule is Mondays 6-8 p.m.; Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m.-noon, Call (952) 955-1980. Appointments are necessary.

• The SW Carver County Food Shelf, located in Norwood Young America, which has a food shelf in the basement of the city hall building at 10 First Ave. NE. It is open Tuesdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The contact number is (952) 467-1800.