Bountiful Basket Food Shelf

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Minnesota Food Share month.

The food program began in 1982 in the seven-county metro area with an interest in helping congregations restock food shelves.

The effort has grown statewide and today nearly 300 food shelves from throughout the state of Minnesota benefit from this program, which runs from March 1 through April 11. Last year it is estimated that over $21 million was raised, with seven million pounds of food being donated to help those with a food need.

In Eastern Carver County, the Bountiful Basket Food Shelf serves the communities of Carver, Chanhassen, Chaska and and Victoria. The local food shelf serves approximately 1,400 individuals each month with nearly 500,000 pounds of food donated annually to individuals and families who need food assistance.

The month of March also notes the anniversary of COVID-19 and the considerable impact the pandemic has had on people in need of food. During this period the Bountiful Basket has increased its outreach efforts to partner with area nonprofits to provide food to a growing county homeless population, as well as creating mobile food programs to assist local youth and senior citizen housing sites.

In addition, the food shelf has created a partnership with Humanity Alliance that resulted in bringing this nonprofit into Carver County to provide healthy cooked meals on weekends to individuals in need, including school-age children.

Of considerable note is that as most food shelves are experiencing a shortage of volunteers during this health crisis, the numbers of volunteers at the Bountiful Basket has actually grown. The Bountiful Basket has a dedicated group of around 100 volunteers that show up daily to greet customers, pick up and stock food, and assist customers.

When we talk about our volunteers, we note that any success we experience as a food shelf is due to their efforts. Those that go above and beyond are many, but none is so appreciated as Jeri Glander, who will be retiring as a food shelf volunteer at the end of April.

For some 12 years Jeri has been an unsung volunteer champion and the mainstay of support for our daily operations. Her countless hours and efforts have helped thousands of individuals most of whom she will never know. For whatever reason God put Jeri on this path where she could use her giftedness to help fellow volunteers provide food for those who are in need. Her retirement is well-deserved and we wish her all the happiness in whatever she does future.

Presently the Bountiful Basket Food Shelf is looking for volunteer board members. Approximately eight meetings are held each year. To show interest or to have questions answered, please go to info@bountifulbasketfoodshelf.org. Or visit our website at bountifulbasketfoodshelf.org.

Thank you for caring for those who are in need of help.

Tom Redman is chair of the Bountiful Basket Food Shelf Board.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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