Agency Partner Spotlight: NACE Foodshelf
When residents of North Anoka County need help finding food or clothing, many turn to the North Anoka County Emergency (NACE) Foodshelf in East Bethel, Minn.
Clients are able to visit the food shelf monthly up to 12 times per year to receive food, clothing, crisis packs, summer food bags and even birthday bags for children.
According to Shana Schmitz, Outreach Coordinator at NACE Foodshelf, the supplemental food and clothing closet are their most in-demand programs. NACE just piloted a weekend school backpack program in April and May of this year, and that program will expand this fall. They also offer crisis packs—a box of non-perishable food that NACE provides to local churches and organizations that see people in need when NACE isn’t open. The box helps get them through the night or weekend until they can get to NACE for more resources.
NACE sees a number of regular clients, though the number of new and first-time clients is increasing.
“Homelessness, underemployment and families moving to the area with little resources are still big issues here,” said Shana.
The biggest challenge for NACE, according to Shana, is reaching everyone who needs help.
“We have a large service area and limited public transportation. Some of the largest areas of poverty in our service area are also the farthest away—up to 20 miles from NACE,” said Shana.
Choice is Important
Amanda is a stay-at-home mother of four boys and relies on the food shelf to stretch her grocery budget. Even though her husband works a lot, they’re still not able to get the amount of food they need to feed their family. Her favorite thing about NACE? Choice.
“At NACE you get to choose your food instead of having it chosen for you,” said Amanda.