Grand Rapids Food Shelf & Second Harvest North Central Food Bank
Sue Estee, Executive Director
Ellen Christmas, Program Manager
Grand Rapids, MN
HSM Blue Ribbon Food Shelf
The Grand Rapids Area Food Shelf was established by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1984. The original location of the food shelf was demolished as part of the Grand Rapids Middle School expansion. The leadership of the food shelf and food bank began to work together to plan the incorporation of the food shelf into the new food bank building.
In 2002, the Grand Rapids Food Shelf began operation as a program of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. The Grand Rapids Food Shelf is one of only two food shelves in the state of Minnesota located within a Feeding America food bank. The second such partnership is the Channel One Food Bank & Food Shelf located in Rochester, Minnesota.
The Second Harvest North Central Food Bank is a vital link between food donors and people in need in north central Minnesota. They partner with food wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers and growers, the USDA and local organizations and individuals to accept surplus food and government commodities and redistribute good quality food and grocery products to over 30 food shelves, and many child and senior nutrition programs, soup kitchens and shelters.
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank has been helping local people meet basic food needs for over 20 years by providing food directly to individuals and to agencies that help people in seven counties in north central Minnesota. Their membership with Feeding America ensures donors, partner agencies and food recipients that they meet the highest standards of food safety, efficient distribution and governance.
Hunger is universally unacceptable and nutritious food is available to everyone.
Engaging the community to end hunger.
Maintaining a high level of respect in the local community in many ways.
There are over 100 dedicated volunteers who understand the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and Grand Rapids Food Shelf’s mission and serve as ambassadors in the community. A priority of the food bank and food shelf is that their volunteers are managed in a way that teaches them to be respectful of the people that are served there. They believe that the voices of their volunteers as well as their clients are truly what affects their ability to maintain a positive reputation in the community.
According to Ellen Christmas, Program Manager, “Volunteers are the heart of the food bank and food shelf in Grand Rapids.” She continues by saying their volunteers “are people who believe hunger hurts our community and they want to do what they can to help get food into the hands of our clients.”
Their volunteers are a diverse bunch, according to Ellen. On any given day, they can include a retired college professor, a 93 year-old woman who has volunteered at the food shelf for 25 years (as long as it has existed), a 19 year-old community college student, a local artist or a couple whose handicapped daughter receives assistance from the food shelf. Ellen believes, “the common thread among this special group of people is their dedication to helping others, especially those at risk of facing hunger, and their willingness to spend time to build a more just and better community.”
Hunger Solutions Minnesota officially recognizes Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and Grand Rapids Food Shelf and their very special volunteers for outstanding service to their community. Congratulations!
Please note: this month’s HSM Board Member Highlight is Sue Estee, Executive Director, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. Click here to read more about Sue.