Like a beacon of hope, the ACBC Food Shelf stands poised and ready to meet food insecurity in the community. The Anoka-based food shelf has been under the direction of Stephanie Lehman, who joined the operation in July of 2020.
"Families coming in have increased by 25% since the beginning of the year," Lehman said. “We've actually added more hours to our service because we're just booked every day,"
Lehman relies on a team of dozens of volunteers who put in thousands of hours to make the food shelf run smoothly. However, they're concerned about the recent shift in donations.
"Relative to last year, we're pretty similar on food donations," Lehman said. "However, our financial donations have dropped by about 45%,"
That's a big concern since March is Minnesota FoodShare Month. It’s a time when financial gifts are key.
"A dollar donated in is worth eight dollars purchased,” Lehman said. “So we can buy more, but we can also buy very specific, so if we need toilet paper this week we can buy toilet paper."
ACBC recently became the first food shelf in the state to join the Commodities Supplemental Food Program. The grant program started at the beginning of the year. It provides an extra box of food each month for lower income adults age 60 and over.
"What they do is they come in, they fill out a menu and then they go in and do their regular food shopping,” Lehman said. “So this is just additional food items that are really specific, healthy nutritious food."
The ACBC Food Shelf has been around for over 50 years and they plan to continue their mission well into the future.
"We're just really thankful for our community," Lehman said.
To learn more or donate, check out the ACBC Food Shelf website.