27th Annual Stuff A Truck: Stocking The Shelves For Families In The Community
With the holidays right around the corner, no small gesture is overlooked. The 27th annual Stuff A Truck event, sponsored by Marketplace Foods as well as the Bemidji Community Food Shelf, helps fill the shelves to provide food for the community.
“Any time that you can help in a community, and because the need is so strong here in Bemidji anything that you can do throughout the year, there’s a lot of different organizations that’ll have matching funds for the food shelf. So it’s not just when school starts up to Thanksgiving, it’s a yearlong need. So even though there’s a big push towards the holidays, it’s something that you can give at any time just by stopping by with a big or a check to help the food pantry out,” said Randy Jaeger, Vice-President of Retail Operations at Marketplace Food & Drug.
Totes were dropped off at elementary, middle and high schools in the area about a month ago, which allowed students enough time to bring in their non-perishable items.
“The surprising part is when you talk to the teachers, every child wants to get involved, and one of the things that we’ve noticed is there are products that are only here at the food pantry that are actually showing up in the totes. So the kids that are actually getting food from the food pantry are also giving it back, so that’s pretty exciting thing to see,” said Jaeger.
The Bemidji Community Food Shelf is a faith-based, non-profit organization that works with partners to provide fresh, nourishing foods for those living in the area.
“The Bemidji Community Food Shelf depends on the community to make it successful. So we ask the community to give volunteer hours, to give monetary donations, and to give donations of food, and these donations all go to strengthen our community to provide people who are facing food insecurity,” said Mary Mitchell, Executive Director at Bemidji Community Food Shelf.
The food shelf offers many services to the community such as Ruby’s Pantry, Community Table and Nutrition Assistance. They also implement ways for people of ages to get involved in helping with the needs of the community.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get kids involved at an early age so they can learn a little bit about the community and the different needs in the community and to also provide variety for our customers here at the food shelf,” added Mitchell. “We are seeing a greater need here at the food shelf. Yesterday, we had over 90 households come in for service, so we are just seeing more of a constant need in our community for support.”
Students from various schools in the Bemidji area helped stuffed the semi-truck, and from today alone, they’ve already collected 5,200 pounds worth of items and have collected $6,500 in monetary donations. The plan is to reach over $21,000 worth of food items, which will allow families to better prepare for the holidays.
A semi-truck will be parked outside of Marketplace Food and Drug near Target tomorrow through Saturday if you wish to drop off donations.