Lakes Area Food Shelf Provides Choice Shopping
Twice a week, the Lakes Area Food Shelf is stocked full of nearly a dozen volunteers who hand out a variety of grocery items. Through donations from local churches and deals from the local grocery stores, the food shelf is able to provide more than just canned goods.
“There’s a lot of influential people and a lot of giving people that we are able to do a lot for our community to be able to feed everyone,” said Carey Rasinski, Lakes Area Food Shelf Director.
Items like milk, bread and chicken are available to the clients of the Lakes Area Food Shelf. For nearly 26 years, the food shelf prepared boxes to hand out to the clients but now are offering a new choice shopping experience.
Whenever clients come into the Lakes Area Food Shelf they are able to take whatever they would like off of the shelves – however, the quantity is based on family size.
“We’ve heard such great praise from our participants that are doing this. They really do like this option of being able to come in and have that choice,” said Carolyn McQueen, SNAP-Ed Educator of the University of Minnesota Extension.
Being able to watch families come in and choose their own food was an adjustment for the workers, but one that’s well worth it.
“Moms come in with kids, and they were hungry, and I took that home a lot and it just makes my heart good,” Rasinski said.
Many of the 320 families that pass through have young children, but the older generation is becoming more prevalent.
“The money for meds that they need and just to live they need. They come here and it’s really tough to see that,” Rasinski said.
No matter who is walking through the doors, the Lakes Food Shelf is there to give clients a choice of what food to take home.
“It’s a hard thing to do to make that change over to client choice and I have to say they did a really great job so I am really proud of them,” McQueen said.
The transition was smooth and clients are responding well to the new set-up.