Melrose Area Food Shelf Rises from the Ashes

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March 14, 2017 By: Jennifer Sheda Category: Partner News

In September of last year, tragedy struck the small town of Melrose in Stearns County. The community was rocked by fire, destroying eight apartments and six businesses.

Families in the apartments were displaced – losing everything. The local food shelf has been a resource in the community for years and it was only natural for the volunteers that run the food shelf to immediately respond.

One of the first things we did was go to the food shelf and load up the car with a bunch of food for the families,” said Mary Jane Christen, food shelf volunteer and board member. The food shelf also provided personal care items and joined the rest of the community to help the families find housing and other necessities.

The remarkable thing about their response is that at this time, the food shelf was operating out of a temporary location because they had also been displaced by small fire six months earlier in the church that was their former home.

In the midst of all this, the food shelf continued to work on their dream of a new, permanent location to better serve their community. The fire was tragic, but it helped shed light on the need in the community.

Melrose Food Shelf QuoteWith the help of long-time volunteer, Ervin Bunkers the Melrose Area Food Shelf was finally able to secure land and begin building a new facility and on Dec. 1, 2016 the Melrose Area Food Shelf opened for business at their new site.

While Ervin’s support was critical, the new food shelf would not be possible without the support of the greater Melrose community. “In all my years of working, I’ve never had a team or committee that meshed so well together. Everyone had the same vision and same mission to feed people that need help,” said Mary Jane. “No one should go to bed hungry.”           

We are proud to partner with food shelves like the Melrose Area Food Shelf and invite you to join us in supporting your local food shelves by participating in the annual Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.


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