Solutions Blog

Renew Funding for Mobile Food Shelves

Collage of photos from mobile food shelves in Minnesota. 4 photos total. Each features either the delivery truck or small buses with colorful food graphics.

In 2015, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $2 million to fund mobile food shelves. These funds helped 35 food shelves start or expand their mobile food shelf programs.

How do Mobile Food Shelves help people?

Mobile Food Shelves are incredibly successful at helping food shelves reach people. They go where people already are and eliminate barriers that make it hard to reach traditional brick-and-mortar food shelves.
These are people who would not otherwise be able to make it to a food shelf due to health, mobility, or transportation barriers. Folks who are homebound or can’t carry grocery bags on a bus are able to access the food they need.
Mobile food shelves are also able to respond quickly to changing community needs. For example, during the federal government shutdown, The Open Door Pantry mobile quickly set up mobile distributions with federal workers who were furloughed. And the Chisholm Food Shelf mobile agreed to help serve the community of Cook when the town’s only grocery store burned down.

What did you do with the original grant funding?

This grant helped some food shelves buy and retrofit vehicles to start new mobile programs. Other food shelves added more delivery sites. And in one case a food shelf closed one of its physical locations to serve people only by mobile delivery in that area.
We know mobile food shelves are successful. In the first round of grant funding, mobile food shelves distributed 3 million pounds of food. They served over 190,000 individuals, 40% of whom were seniors.
The original grant funds were not enough to meet the need. There are another 20 organizations interested in starting or expanding mobile food shelves. With an aging population, those needs will continue to grow. We are seeking renewed food shelf funding from the Legislature: $250,000 per year for new programs and $250,000 per year to sustain existing programs. Renewing the mobile grant means more Minnesotans who struggle with hunger will have access to food.



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