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Lakes Area Food Shelf

Need for emergency and supplemental food on track to double in 2022
Web posted August 2, 2022
Figures released at the end of June by Lakes Area Food Shelf (LAFS) show unprecedented growth in need in 2022. Just under 5,000 individuals – the exact number is 4,962 – came to LAFS for supplemental and emergency food assistance through June of this year. Considering 4,657 came through LAFS in all of 2021, the spike is one of the more stunning developments in the pantry’s 42-year history. The growing need is causing Food Shelf leaders to project they may serve as many as 10,000 by the end of 2022.

“We’re all one surprise incident away from not having enough for food,” LAFS Director Kathy Adams responded after reporting the new statistics. “Continuing pandemic adjustments combined with rising costs of groceries, housing, and gas means our Friends and Neighbors often are short on cash.”

Particularly sobering for LAFS in 2022 is the growing number of families who are “food insecure.” At least 1,500 families came to the Food Shelf in the first half of the year, nearly triple the 2021 number.

“Rent has jumped between 30 and 50 percent for these working families. They’re being forced to choose between having shelter or going hungry,” explained Director Adams.

Whenever there’s not money to buy food, Lakes Area Food Shelf meets the need in a setting resembling a small grocery store located at 29316 Patriot Ave in Pequot Lakes. There’s variety of nutritional food on the shelves and in coolers. Volunteers greet and assist Friends and Neighbors and keep the inventory stocked.

“We’re now spending nearly $15,000 a month to keep pace. That’s up from $10,000,” said LAFS Board of Directors Chairman Tim Moore. “We’re seeing families, grandparents raising grandkids, people with disabilities, and individuals working multiple jobs. 31% of those coming here are children and 20% are seniors.”

LAFS buys its food from Second Harvest Food Bank in Grand Rapids and Schaefer’s Foods in Nisswa. Additionally, it sources through food rescue with Cub Foods, Pequot Lakes Super Valu, Country Hearth, and Schaefer’s Foods. Fresh produce comes from Brakstad Farms outside of Pequot Lakes. Even though the prices are discounted, LAFS’ costs are rising along with the numbers of those in need.

“We rely almost exclusively on donations to help our Friends and Neighbors,” said LAFS Director Adams. “With the need growing in 2022, buying a ticket to the Nisswa Christmas Home Tour is very much appreciated. We also encourage direct contributions through our website https://lakesareafoodshelf.org/donate”

This is the 31st year of the Home Tour, which takes place October 20, 21, and 22. Tickets are $40 per person. Tour participants are shuttled to two private homes elaborately decorated for the  holidays. Upon return to Nisswa, they can get a meal at one of the town’s charming restaurants and experience shopping at their favorite stores. Proceeds from the Home Tour go directly to Lakes Area Food Shelf. Tickets and additional info is available at www.lafshometour.com.

Lakes Area Food shelf is grateful to have served the Brainerd Lakes area since 1980. We were established through Nisswa’s Lutheran Church of the Cross and Christ Community Church. Due to rapid growth, we were named “Lakes Area Food Shelf” in 1991. We’re a 501 c 3 public charity, operating solely on financial, food, and other donations.

LAFS is a COMMUNITY FOOD SHELF. Its mission is to provide emergency and supplemental food assistance to those facing food insecurity. It belongs to EVERYONE and we welcome our friends, neighbors, churches, volunteers, business community, EVERYONE, into the Food Shelf.

Our goal is to be a temporary resource for our Friends and Neighbors, providing food assistance and other resources that can help them address some of the economic and social barriers they face including, job training, housing, transportation, mental health.

For more information go to: https://lakesareafoodshelf.org/

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