Bemidji Community Food Shelf Discusses Plans for 2023
For over 40 years, the Bemidji Community Food Shelf has served the area by offering food to those in need. In 2022 alone, the organization served over 28,000 individuals, with roughly 1,600 of them being first-time customers. All this work is thanks to donations and a staff of volunteers.
The food shelf is hoping to continue their efforts in serving the community as they discuss their plans for the new year.
“We saw a 40% increase in customer visits and new customers … so at this point, our entire goal is to continue to be able to meet the needs of the community because there are a lot of needs,” explained Bemidji Community Food Shelf Volunteer Coordinator Debbie Johnson.
In addition to continuing their community support, the food shelf also hopes to make some renovations to their main base of operations.
“Because you have to have a place to be able to serve out of,” said Johnson with a laugh. “One of the things that we’re hoping to do is to redo some of the front outside part of the building because it needs a little love.”
Small changes had been made during the 2022 season, one of which was a recent remodeling of the building’s floor. The overall atmosphere of the food shelf is meant to invoke the feeling of a grocery store to make customers feel more comfortable.
“And that new floor has totally changed the entire feel of the whole room, which has been very fun,” stated Johnson.
Ultimately, the Bemidji Community Food Shelf hopes to provide a safe environment to anyone in need, no matter the circumstance.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re systemically struggling, if it’s a one-time thing, if you need to come in, we want to help you,” said Johnson.
In addition to serving the Bemidji community, the food shelf also overs a mobile food pantry service to the Kelliher and Blackduck areas once a month.
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