The Maple Plain Community Food Shelf is continuing to provide food to those in need, but are transitioning their operations to a food-closet model in order to accommodate the changing needs of the community.

The food shelf has been a ministry of the Maple Plain Community Church for 37 years. It began in 1982 as a resource for the community to come in and pick-up pre-packed bags of groceries and then evolved into a “grocery shopping” experience.

The current model is based on clients coming weekly to shop for a certain weight of food based on their needs and preferences, according to a press release. The food shelf has seen a steady decline in households served over the last few years. During their peak from 2007-2014, the food shelf would give out 4,000 to 5,000 pounds of food each month to approximately 50 households.

According to the Maple Plain Community Food Shelf Coordinator Margaret Florek, approximately 1,500 pounds of food was given out to 10 to 20 households in January 2020.

“We have seen a continued decrease in the number of households at the food shelf. We never had the long lines seen at other food distributions. Those clients that come have been notified of the transition, given a list of other resources available and have been told they are welcome to come through June if necessary. We’ve kept the same hours of operations through this time,” she said.

Starting at the end of June, the food shelf will be transitioning back into a pre-packed model or a “food closet” model. This new model will be available to fill a “one-time emergency need” Florek said. A prepacked amount of food will be given to someone and is made to last two to three days until another resource can be reached.

The transition to the new food closet model “will allow funds and donations to be used more effectively and all the other local organizations to expand their services based on the needs that they are experiencing,” according to their press release.

The plan to transition began before the stay-at-home order was first implemented in March. During the stay-at-home order, the food shelf did prepackage bags of non-perishable items and passed them outside the church.

Other resources in the area include WeCAN Mobile Food Shelf, the Westonka Food Shelf, Interfaith Outreach reach and Community Partners in Plymouth, Delano Helping Hands Food Shelf, Friends for Life Food Shelf in Watertown and the Hanover Area Food Shelf.

“If someone has an immediate need, they can contact the church office during office hours and a staff member will assist them,” Florek said.

The Maple Plain Community Church is located at 1815 Budd Ave N, Maple Plain. They can be reached at (763) 479-1620.

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