Lakes Area Food Shelf Community Resource Hub
The Lakes Area Food Shelf Community Resources Hub
“Hunger Free & Healthy” Fundraising Campaign Underway
In January of 2023, Lakes Area Food Shelf announced a major fundraising campaign to build a Community Resources Hub. Creating the Hub will address the growing need for social services in northern Crow Wing County. The fundraising campaign is called “Hunger Free & Healthy.” Money raised will be used to expand the current food shelf building on the campus of Grace United Methodist Church in Pequot Lakes, MN. Development of the project will come at significant cost.
“LAFS is an essential resource to the communities we serve, and our core program will remain operating as a food shelf,” explained LAFS Director Kathy Adams. “We are trusted. So, individuals and families are comfortable sharing information. Our bond makes us uniquely positioned to identify resources and help them overcome the barriers they face.”
Financing the Hunger Free & Healthy initiative will require extensive fundraising by LAFS, which has already secured grants from two significant partners. The Blandin FoundatIon has approved a $90,000 Leadership Boost Grant. The Hunt Family Fund has pledged $75,000 as a match grant. LAFS will designate money from its Reserve Funds as well. The timeline for the project is still being developed with a goal of breaking ground in 2023.
What Is A Community Resources Hub?
The practIce of food shelves as “community resource hub” is gaining tractIon natIonwide. Advocacy is now defined as delivering healthy, nutrient rich food, and attempting to mitigate the underlying challenges that lead people to visit a food shelf. Community Resource Hubs, integrated within the food shelf, house a network of existing direct service providers from multIple disciplines (legal, housing, counseling, job training, etc.). The partnership creates navigators who provide help beyond food, all the while protecTIng individual privacy and advocating without judgment. LAFS is actively seeking partners to staff the hub.
“Lack of food is often an outcome of many pressures facing individuals and families. We see these situations daily,” said LAFS Board President Tim Moore. “As we offer meals, we have an opportunity to help people work through the challenges of paying rent or ge^ng healthcare or finding a way to fill their gas tank.”
What’s The Overall Goal of Hunger Free & Healthy?
Serve people in a time of need, help them become hunger free and attain a healthy life, so they in turn can help others.
The decision to build a Community Resource Hub came from feedback gathered midway through 2022 during LAFS’ first ever Strategic Plan process. The Strategic Plan came together in the midst of record-breaking visits to the food shelf driven by spikes in the cost of living and the expiraJon of pandemic relief programs.
LAFS Board members heard from individuals who use the food shelf, from a cross secJon of community and business leaders, and from social service experts. There was consensus to keep food as a primary service and to expand LAFS’ mission through partnerships with existing experts. The LAFS location in Pequot Lakes was cited as a significant asset in taking this approach.
“We discussed the severe shortage of direct service providers located in our area,” said LAFS Director Adams. “Brainerd, 20 miles from Pequot Lakes, is a hub of wonderful service providers. Yet, to someone whose car runs on prayer instead of fuel, or whose bicycle couldn’t travel that distance, those 20 miles might as well be 200 miles.”
“At LAFS, we have a saying. In order to achieve community, we need each other to build one,” said Board Chair Moore. “Our community understands the need. Through the Hunger Free & Healthy campaign, we’ll build a Community Resource Hub that delivers long-term positive impact for us all.”
Individuals or groups wishing to donate to Hunger Free & Healthy can do so by sending a check to:
Hunger Free & Healthy Campaign
Lakes Area Food Shelf
PO Box 423 Pequot Lakes, MN 56472
Or by visiting the food shelf website at https://lakesareafoodshelf.org/donate
All donations are tax deductible.