LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Food Shelf had challenging, eventful year
The Bemidji Community Food Shelf wishes to thank the community for its outstanding support in 2017. The past year was challenging and eventful for the food shelf, which serves households in Beltrami County and the Bemidji School District.
With the help of the NFL Legacy Fund, we purchased a used van that we use to pick up food locally and from our food bank in Crookston. With assistance from the University of Minnesota, Bernick’s and Beltrami Electric, we constructed a Deep Winter Greenhouse in which we will grow fresh greens for our families. We now have a new website: www.bcfsmn.org -- please visit. We also adopted a new logo created by an area artist.
While not a record year for visitation, we did have over 1,000 more visits than in 2016 and greatly exceeded our food budget. With your help, we were able to cover the additional costs. Altogether, 2,924 families made a total of 11,282 visits and received 857,903 pounds of food. Nearly 70 percent of these families came only one to four times during the year. This service was made possible by the 700-plus volunteers who picked up food from area stores, served on the board and on committees, worked in the warehouse, helped on the farm, stocked our shelves, and conducted intake interviews.
Emergency food services continue to be a great need in our area. Many of our families are going through difficult transitions or are unable to stretch their budget through the month. We are so grateful to be able to be of help when the need arises. Thank you again for your donations of time and treasure.
We look forward to exciting changes and challenges in 2018. On the Farm, we will be building a second high tunnel, saying goodbye to our wonderful farm managers and hiring new staff. Please check our website for job descriptions. Our board of directors recently approved a board restructuring resolution to start a process that will expand community involvement and create new opportunities.
We hope you will join us at our 2018 annual meeting on Saturday, Feb 10 at Bethel Lutheran Church, 5232 Irvine Ave NW. Following our member meeting, the public is invited to join us at 1:30 p.m. for a presentation concerning health inequities in northern Minnesota by nutritionist Amanda Shongo. We look forward to seeing you there.
Jim Fretheim, Bemidji, is president of the Bemidji Community Food Shelf.