As reported recently, March is Minnesota FoodShare month – an annual campaign that brings together community organizations, businesses and individuals to fill food shelves statewide. Locally, that includes Waconia United Food Shelf.

Next month, on Monday, April 5, the Waconia Food Shelf is teaming with five other partners to offer a free food distribution event at Waconia High School, 1650 Community Drive. The drive-through event will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. while supplies last.

This event is open to everyone, and food recipients do not need to be a food shelf client or meet any other qualifications to participate, according to Food Shelf Director Angie Cruzen.

In addition to the local food shelf, sponsors include Waconia Public Schools, the city of Waconia, Second Harvest Heartland, CAP Agency and Carver County Public Health.

“Waconia hosted a distribution event back in August 2020 and it was a huge success,” Cruzen said. “We wanted to bring it back a second time to help all people who continue to experience food insecurities. And this is a way we can get outside our walls to reach more with healthy food options.”

Organizers will use the COVID Food Assistance Program, or CFAP boxes, for the event, according to Cruzen. CFAP is an assistance program for farmers, ranchers and other food producers managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program provides assistance to producers of agricultural commodities and channels food to food banks, community, tribal and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.

Pre-packed boxes of produce, dairy and meat will be distributed safely through a drive-up/curbside pick-up model. Food will be loaded into trunks by volunteers who will maintain social distance. No registration or paperwork is necessary and only basic demographic information will be asked of participants such as the ages of individuals in each household. No names, addresses or other identifying information will be asked.

The city of Waconia will work with the fire department to provide traffic management, volunteers and help promote the event.

“This is truly is a community effort and as always, I’m humbled by everyone’s willingness to help,” Cruzen said. “This is a resource for the whole community and especially for those needing a little extra help right now.”

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