About Us


It Takes a Village

It’s March FoodShare time again – the most important month of the year for BCFS. Funds raised in March allow us to replenish our depleted reserves and gear up for a busy summer season, when kids are home from school and more meals must be served.

Out of 331 food shelves in Minnesota, BCFS is 15th in number of households served. And yet, we don’t have the same advantages as similar food shelves in the metro area, because we have fewer stores to partner with for donations. Store donations make up only one-third of the food we distribute, meaning we must purchase two-thirds of our food, which we do with donated funds.

Our northern location presents us with unique challenges that food shelves of similar size in the metro area do not have. Transportation costs add a great deal to our overall food budget, as the majority of our food comes from the Twin Cities and Crookston. With fewer partner stores in our community, our percentage of donated food is much lower and our budget for purchased food much higher.

Also, this year BCFS saw record visits for February, typically our slowest month of the year. Due to the government shutdown, SNAP (“food stamp”) recipients received their February money in January, causing confusion and shortages in February. We did not budget for this unforeseen increase in use and will need extra donations during the 2019 Campaign to help offset this expense.

The Minnesota FoodShare Campaign will run from February 26 to April 8, and all donations of dollars and food received during that time will receive a partial match by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC). Please spread the word at work, church and other organizations in which you are active. Think of fun and creative ways you can help. Examples are: a bake sale, work team competitions, an office Jeans Day, or a neighborhood food drive. For more information about how you can help, please call Mary at 444-6580 ext. 24.

Mission Statement
The Bemidji Community Food Shelf is a faith-based, caring place that listens to those who are experiencing food insecurity. We work with our partners to be inclusive and to provide fresh, nourishing foods for those living in Beltrami County and the Bemidji School District.

Organization history
The Bemidji Food Shelf (BCFS) is a nonprofit (IRS Reg. 501c3) organization founded during the summer of 1982. Realizing that the need for food was greater than any one church could handle, a group of twelve churches joined hands. The food shelf now has 17 member churches and serves approximately 3,000 families at a large facility in the Industrial Park, distributing over 700,000 pounds of food per year. We purchase just over half our food, and partner with area stores for donations for the remainder. We have a full time director and four part-time staff, and over 700 volunteers from the community.

BCFS in the news:

PRX Northern Community Radio

Lakeland PBS Insight

KBXE Morning Show

Board of Directors
The Board of Directors meets every other month on the second Thursday of the month.  Everyone is welcome.  Call BCFS at 218-444-6580 for more information.

Executive Board
The Executive Committee, consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Coordinator meets monthly. If you have a matter for consideration, please call Mary at 218-444-6580.

Need a Speaker?
A member of the BCFS Executive Board will attend a meeting at your church, organization, business or club to provide useful information and answer any questions you might have about the Food Shelf. Just call (218) 444-6580 or email (bcfs@paulbunyan.net) to arrange a time.