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Top shelf: Christian Cupboard takes home Chamber's nonprofit award

Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf Executive Director Kristin Kinney. (Staff photo by Riham Feshir)

Woodbury’s Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf recognized a big milestone this November when it celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Another big honor was recognized last weekend when the Woodbury food shelf was named the 2014 Nonprofit of the Year by the Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce during the annual awards gala, held Friday evening at the Prom Center in Oakdale.

“That was a wonderful honor,” said Kristin Kinney, executive director of the Christian Cupboard. “It’s great to be acknowledged for the work that the community is doing.”

Barbara Tuccitto Warren, president of the Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged Christian Cupboard’s 30-plus years of service to the community and noted that it serves hundreds of people weekly.

This is the first time the Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce has handed out the Nonprofit of the Year award.

Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf was started in 1983 by a group of seven Woodbury area churches, including Woodbury Lutheran Church where the food shelf is housed.

On average, Christian Cupboard provides meals for about 400-450 families per week, Kinney said.

“Everyone needs extra assistance at some point in their lives,” she said. “With food being the basic need that it is, unfortunately there will always be a need for a food shelf.”

In 2012, Christian Cupboard provided a total of 535,000 pounds of food to families in need.

Christian Cupboard is open Mondays from noon to 4 p.m., Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Previously, the food shelf distributed four pre-packaged grocery bags to customers, but a new model introduced last year now allows customers to pick which foods they want.

“They want to be able to select what works best for them,” Kinney said. “We’ve learned a little bit more about what preferences people have, so we don’t t get overstocked in certain products that aren’t going to be selected.”

Even though the current model of the Christian Cupboard has been successful, Kinney said, there are always places to improve.

For example, Kinney said they will be looking at possible new partnerships with farmers and other food providers to help provide healthier food options since a lot of families are looking for that.

Additionally, Kinney said Christian Cupboard is also incorporating more ethnic meal items to address the needs of all of its clients.

In addition to changing food options, Kinney said Christian Cupboard will also be looking at what groups of customers aren’t being addressed and why.

“Is it a transportation issue,” she said, “is it a cultural issue?

“The more we learn about those needs the better we can try to meet them.”

Additionally, Christian Cupboard is currently looking into whether or not to increase its hours.

“We’re asking customers if there is any interest in having another evening available,” Kinney said. “We’re working through some of that right now.”

Kinney said she is very appreciative of the community and the award.

“We are very grateful for the support and the continuous contributions of this incredibly generous community,” she said. “The community has really embraced the food shelf.”

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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