Catholic Charities Food Shelf Adds New Freezer Space
Last year, the Food Shelf was awarded the MPCA’s “Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue” grant to help build a new, 400-square-foot freezer to help store more donations at the Food Shelf.
Emergency Services Program Manager Eric Vollen says the extra space is already helping the Food Shelf become more efficient.
We're always in need of more healthy, nutritious products like meats, dairy, milk, margarine, butter, and fresh fruit. The amount of fruits and vegetables that we've received, for example, from our food rescue businesses is extraordinary. Maybe those strawberries that we received, or that are taken off the shelves from a business, are a little bit too ripe but they're still perfectly healthy and nutritious. That's really what's important - getting that nutrition to the people who need it.
According to Feeding America, 119 billion pounds of food is wasted each year in the United States. With the Food Rescue program, the Catholic Charities Emergency Service Food Shelf works with local businesses to divert safe, edible food from entering the landfill.
In 2022, Catholic Charities Food Shelf collected 1,026,276 pounds of food through the program, and the new walk-in freezer will help the Food Shelf store more on-site.
Nikki Kissner, Food Rescue Program Coordinator, says the extra space means they can capitalize on larger donations that often show up without warning.
Oftentimes, we will have an anonymous truck driver (donate) if there are overages on their order. In the past, we've had to turn it away because we didn't have the freezer space. Now we have the freezer space to accept all those donations.
Vollen says the extra space will mean a healthier bottom line as well.
So this new walk-in freezer means that we no longer need to rent offsite food storage. We, on occasion, had to turn away some of our donations or had to purchase less. And now with this new walk- in freezer, we can we can meet our needs.
The ”Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue” program, approved by the Minnesota Legislature in 2019, is designed to fund projects that help feed hungry people and help organizations minimize their wasted food. In addition to the grant, SCR (St. Cloud Refrigeration) and Rice Companies in Sauk Rapids contributed significantly to the project.
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