Agency Partner Spotlight: BBE Area Food Shelf, Brooten, Minn.

August 8, 2013 By: Sara Blair Category: WordPress Import

In west central Minnesota, the BBE (Belgrade, Brooten, Elrosa) Area Food Shelf plays a key role in the community—not only opening once a week to distribute food, but also serving as a resource for hunger relief throughout the area.

"We are here to feed the hungry and to eliminate hunger," says Julie Reade, a former financial executive and current graduate student who has served as volunteer executive director of the food shelf for the past 18 months. "Whether that's distributing food once a week on Wednesday afternoons, or referring clients to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), we want people to get the food they need."

The BBE Area Food Shelf has operated since the 1970s, and currently conducts business in a donated, converted one-stall garage. Although the food shelf serves more than 100 families monthly, it experiences a large spike in food shelf usage during the summer months, when migrant families are in the area to work in farm fields and a local processing plant. The all-volunteer operation relies heavily on Second Harvest Heartland for canned goods and staples, and also counts on local food drives to fill in the gaps. The food shelf often gets fruits and vegetables from local farmers during harvest time, which it distributes as fast as the items come in.

Continuous outreach and education is also part of Julie's job. She spends a lot of time talking to organizations, churches and community leaders, and encouraging existing clients to tell others about the BBE Area Food Shelf. "Hunger has no race, religion or season,” she says. “A lot of people are too proud or don't think they qualify to use our services. We want to eliminate those barriers."


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