Woodbury food shelf ramp up efforts in MarchFridays at the Christian Cupboard Food Shelf are busy, hectic and filled with energy.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
Fridays at the Christian Cupboard Food Shelf are busy, hectic and filled with energy.
And walking into the lower level of the Woodbury Lutheran Church where the food shelf is located is like walking into a grocery store.
The sorting room is filled with fruits, vegetables and the distinct aroma that comes with the produce. The main Christian Cupboard area is filled with nonperishable items, stacked boxes upon boxes waiting to get picked up by those lined up outside waiting for their turn.
This month was a little different, too.
The Minnesota FoodShare campaign, held every March, is the largest food drive in the state that restocks 300 food shelves across Minnesota.
The Woodbury food shelf received thousands more pounds of food and even thousands more in monetary donations from various individuals and organizations.
According to Food Shelf Director Dick Wolff, the organization received 9,400 pounds of food so far this month, compared to about 6,300 in February.
The food shelf also received more than $38,500 in donations this March, compared to $5,800 in February.
“We get more in March. This is going to be a very high month,” he said. “And I really expect to be pushing $50,000 to $60,000 by the end of the month.”
The Christian Cupboard Food Shelf has been open since 1983, but has only been receiving vegetable, fruit and meat donations for the past three years.
Volunteers sort out a truck load of fruits and vegetables every Friday and put together bags and boxes of healthy choices for those in need.
“There is people who come just for the produce,” said Sharon Wolff, co-director of the food shelf. “You know how expensive it is if you’re buying any.”
With about 25 volunteers, the shelf helps out around 120 clients every week, the Wolffs said.
All volunteers help make it comfortable, especially for first-timers who didn’t think they would one day be seeking out the food shelf, Dick Wolff said.
“When people haven’t been to the food shelf ever, it’s a very, very difficult thing for them to come,” he said.
Oftentimes first-timers drive to the food shelf and can’t even get themselves to get out of the car and go inside, Dick Wolff added.
“Because in this society, they feel ashamed and embarrassed,” he said. “We want to make it easy for first-timers,” Dick Wolff said.
A number of “in-takers” or counselors, sit in rooms where they meet with clients privately. They take their information and keep them in a system for the next time they visit the food shelf.
Eligibility is based on the food shelf’s service area, which is Woodbury, Landfall, Oakdale and part of Maplewood. Clients are given an amount of food based on their family size.
Sharon Wolff said now that there are three in-takers, the line of those waiting to register goes quickly during the time the food shelf is open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays.
In addition to the weekly distribution, the food shelf is open every second Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
But it’s Fridays at the Christian Cupboard Food Shelf that are filled with smiles on the faces of volunteers who make it comfortable to pick up food from there.
It’s Fridays that are filled with enthusiasm, eagerness and the desire to help others.