The White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf has been serving the White Bear Lake community for 39 years. In 2015, we provided 615,305 meals to 2,907 individuals (unduplicated), a 30% increase over meals provided in 2014. In any given month, over 545 families receive support from the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf. Of the individuals served, 57% are children and 5% are seniors 65 years of age or older.
The White Bear Food Shelf serves over 545 families each month through monthly shopping, Bonus Friday, and the KID Pack programs. To qualify, a client must live in the White Bear Area School District and self-identify a need for food. Clients initially meet with an outreach worker who conducts a brief assessment, provides referral connections to other community resources, and assists the client with the Bridge to Benefits application for SNAP (food support) and other resources. During a monthly shopping visit clients have access to their choice of milk, eggs, meat, pasta, rice, fresh and frozen produce and a variety of other dry goods. Volunteers assist clients with their shopping. The Food Shelf schedules shopping appointments on Mondays, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9:30 - 12:00 and Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 4:30 - 7:00 pm. Bonus Friday is a weekly produce pick-up program made possible through a partnership with the Second Harvest Food Rescue program. This partnership allows the White Bear Food Shelf to provide up to 2,000 pounds of produce and dairy items to over 40 families each week. KID Pack is a partnership with the White Bear Area School District to provide weekend bags of food to students who might otherwise go hungry over the weekend. Each KID Pack contains two breakfast, two entrees, and four snack items. In the 2014-2015 school year, over 300 bags per week were distributed at White Bear Area School District schools. Currently the White Bear Area Emergency Food Shelf is distributing over 400 KID Pack bags each week.
In recent years, we have expanded our services and strengthened our strategies to meet the changing needs of our community. In 2015, we surveyed our neighbors to determine their nutrition needs, barriers to healthy foods and ideas on how to improve their over-all experience at the Food Shelf. We found out that 96% of our Food Shelf families are interested in eating healthier, and 85% of families receive at least half of their fruits and vegetables solely from our Food Shelf. Our Community Resources Program (established by a 2013 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation and HungerFree Minnesota) connects our neighbors to resources such as SNAP, NAPS, Fare-For-All, and WIC. Through this program, we provided over 80 referrals to the Second Harvest SNAP Outreach Program and 40 to the NAPS program in 2015. Additionally, 43 referrals for Medical Assistance (MA), 40 referrals for Energy Assistance and 8 requests were made to the Community Sharing Fund/Community Action Partnership for housing and utility grants. Further, we are currently working to break down transportation barriers in our community by creating a weekly bus route for our neighbors who experience difficult in accessing our services.
In addition to the continuation of our 4 strategic priorities
1. Proactively manage change so that food shelf programming is prepared to meet future needs of the community.
2. Address the growing cultural diversity in the community and its impact on clients and their food needs, volunteers and the board.
3. Sustain a motivating environment that incorporates best practices for serving clients and operations in the most efficient and effective ways.
4. Build support for sustaining food shelf programming through marketing, communications, fundraising and other awareness generating strategies.
"Increasing access to healthier food for all our neighbors in the White Bear Area" is the strategic focus of the White Bear Food Shelf in 2016 and the lens by which each program will be evaluated.
Community or Constituency Served
We serve those who reside in the White Bear Area School District including the cities of White Bear Lake, Vadnais Heights, Lino Lakes, Hugo, North Oaks, Birchwood and White Bear Township.
Geographic Area Served
The White Bear Area School District including the cities of White Bear Lake, Vadnais Heights, Lino Lakes, Hugo, North Oaks, Birchwood and White Bear Township.