Impact and Programs
In 2017, MEFS logged a record number of grocery distributions. In total, 7,376 distributions provided food security to 17,252 duplicated individuals. The number of unduplicated individuals (5,156) rose just slightly but coupled with the increase in over all distributions the trend is defined that the same individuals are utilizing multiple service distributions throughout the year. Many of those requesting services multiple times are participating in a "produce only/specific" distribution aimed at efforts to further reduce waste. MEFS is noting a gradual increase in donated perishable items, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and coordinating extra weekly distributions allows households to further fill in the gaps of missing meal opportunities as well as reduce program waste.
A full year of Complete Client Choice, a Supermarket Style distribution model, was also fulfilled in 2017. The switch to this client centered approach was implemented to not only increase client dignity and choice but also to begin fine-tuning the process of defining a food purchase budget. This transition has allowed MEFS to track which foods are sought after and make specific purchases, if possible, to accommodate such specifics. It has also allowed MEFS to tailor its inventory and begin to strategically approach donors with specific item requests.
The final most notable impact has been in the recruitment of participants in the Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS), a commodities based program for which MEFS is a distribution site. Recruitment efforts have begun the process of identifying isolated individuals over the age of 60 and further provide increased food security.
During 2018, MEFS plans to continue providing food security through specific client centered grocery distributions similar to 2017 as well as the provision of community support resources to further increase self sufficiency.
Unlike previous years, specifically not adding or reducing programming (if possible) has been suggested as part of MEFS's inclusion in a program referred to as SuperShelf. SuperShelf is a collaboration between HealthPartners and the University of Minnesota aimed at studying inventory and client choices within the emergency food shelf system. MEFS has been randomly selected in the control group, which means data will be collected for a calendar year and the roll-out of physical redesign, additional food sourcing, and various other measures which promote and facilitate healthy client-based food selections. Roll out specifics will be determined based on findings through the data collection process. A full report at the close of program participation will be available to the agency. In addition to the metrics and report, SuperShelf also includes grant funds for redesign specifics such as shelving, coolers, paint, and displays.
MEFS also plans to research additional community wide food distribution programming. Such programming is referred to as a "Produce Drop". Funding, facility details, volunteer support, and advertisement of such a program are specific agenda items. The goal is to be able to reach an even greater number of individuals and further assist in moving more of the perishable foods at a quicker pace.
Community or Constituency Served
Municipal and rural residents of every zip code in McLeod County, Minnesota, including Glencoe, Hutchinson, Plato, Lester Prairie, Winsted, Silver Lake, Brownton, and Stewart.
Geographic Area Served
McLeod County, Minnesota