No drop-off for fall: Bemidji Community Food Shelf remains busy
BEMIDJI--It's been a busy year for the Bemidji Community Food Shelf, with nearly 3,000 families served through November. "Normally, we see a drop-off in the fall as summer is our busiest time," said Mary Mitchell, the food shelf's executive director.
BEMIDJI-It's been a busy year for the Bemidji Community Food Shelf, with nearly 3,000 families served through November.
"Normally, we see a drop-off in the fall as summer is our busiest time," said Mary Mitchell, the food shelf's executive director. "It hasn't dropped this fall, though. I started in 2014 and this is the first year where I haven't seen the visitation go down in the fall. It's just been going straight through, so that's very unusual. We've been helping between 80 and 100 families on most days."
Through Nov. 30, the food shelf has served a total 2,828 families, distributing some 784,129 pounds of food. According to Mitchell, most years, the food shelf serves about 3,000 families. However, with December added in, this year's numbers should surpass that, as they did in 2013 when the food shelf had its highest visitation.
Fortunately, while the number of families visiting the facility has been high, the shelves remain well stocked at the food shelf. Mitchell said this is helped by seasonal donations.
"Donations typically pick up during the holidays, and we do purchase the majority of our food with donated money. They are very much appreciated and needed; I think we can get four to five meals out of $1," Mitchell said.
"We can also, always, use more volunteers from the community."
To coincide with the uptick in donations during the winter months, Mitchell said she hopes that one day the food shelf can have a program for the holidays.
"One thing I'd like to do is something special for Christmas. That's not something we've done before, but I would like to look into something like that and possibly partner with a community organization," Mitchell said. "Some places do an extra food box with a turkey, something like that would be really nice for this time of year."
The Bemidji Community Food Shelf
• Located at 1260 Exchange Ave. SE
• Open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On the third Monday of every month, the shelf is open until 5 p.m.
• For more information, visit www.bemidjifoodshelf.org or call (218) 444-6580.