The Northfield Community Action Center has established a satellite food shelf in the former Greenvale Park Elementary School building to ensure food insecure residents on the north side of the city have access to needed food.
The food shelf was established after the Northfield City Council in August authorized $145,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act dollars to allow for the CAC to support approximately 3,750 families. At the time, the CAC planned to use the money for expenses relating to food delivery for vulnerable populations in Northfield, including senior citizens and vulnerable adults.
The first drive-thru distribution was Oct. 8. Such events are also scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5 and 19. Weather updates and changes can be found on social media or through contacting the CAC at (507)-664-3550.
CAC Board of Directors member Rachel Matney said CAC staff and volunteers also continue preparing the new food shelf space with necessary equipment and supplies to allow families to select items based on their individual needs. The satellite food shelf, while smaller than the CAC’s main site, is expected to provide the same food options and allow clients to choose their own food.
Matney noted the advent of COVID-19 caused the organization to develop a different strategy to increase food access on the north side of the city, adding last summer’s large “Truck to Trunk” food distributions expanded food support to more families than visit the food shelf in a given year.
“The CAC has organized more frequent outdoor food distributions that include fresh, locally grown produce and culturally relevant foods,” Matney said. “Every Thursday in September CAC staff and volunteers, along with Growing Up Healthy staff, (distributed) food to hundreds of Northfield community members in the parking lot of Emmaus Church.”
The Northfield Community Action Center collaborated with Northfield Public Schools and other local organizations to open the food shelf when the former Greenvale Park Elementary School reopened as the Northfield Community Education Center.
“Neighbors living on the north side of town shared their need for fresh and healthy foods and that transportation to area grocery stores is difficult,” Matney said. “CAC’s main food shelf is located on the opposite side of town which can take over an hour to access via public transportation.”
Matney credited a number of other organizations for their work in establishing the satellite food shelf, including:
• Carleton College’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement and Food Recovery Network
• Bethel Church
• Growing Up Healthy staff
• CAC volunteers, staff and an AmeriCorps Vista member.