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Food Shelf Programs

Neighborhood Food Shelf

The Neighborhood Food Shelf, a critical part of our food programming, had more than 80,000 client contacts in 2015 and distributed 516,000 pounds of food. Each afternoon, Monday through Thursday, 20-35 people with food needs are interviewed. A Wednesday evening session provides food shelf hours to make it more accessible for working people who are an increasing percentage of our clientele.

CES has recently sharpened its focus on its food programming.

  • Since the installation of our new walk-in refrigerator/freezer, CES has been working to increase the distribution of fresh and frozen foods, including meat, fish, milk, bread, eggs and fresh produce.
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  • This increased capacity has been paired with new client-centered programming.
  • We introduced a client choice model for our food shelf, where clients "shop" and choose their groceries from the food shelf rather than have volunteers pull items from the shelves. We believe that when we make the food shelf experience more like a grocery store, we better respect the dignity of our clients.

Each month, CES distributes about 23 tons of food through all of the CES food distributions. This food has been donated by congregations, organizations, foundations, partner food banks and individuals or has been purchased from local food banks, often at a reduced rate.

Food Shelf Story: A Fresh Start

Martina (not her real name) was referred to CES by one of our local church partners. CES staff received the referral after regular office hours one evening, but CES staff agreed to stay late and interview her.

Martina had just returned to Minneapolis feeling defeated after she moved to the East Coast for a promising job opportunity that fell through. Now she was back but had lost her benefits when she left the state and would not be eligible to receive benefits again for several weeks.

CES was able to make an exception for Martina and provide her with food that would last her until she could receive benefits again. A staff member brainstormed with her about local volunteer opportunities that would help her stay connected and feel useful until she was able to find another job. Martina left CES feeling encouraged that she would be able to bounce back after this major disappointment.

Community Emergency Service | 1900 11th Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404 | 612-870-1125 | ces@cesmn.org | www.cesmn.org

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