Blog

Emergency COVID-19 Procedures in Effect

Due to the national state of emergency regarding COVID-19, starting Monday, March 23, customers will no longer be allowed inside the Food Shelf. Customers will wait in their vehicles and volunteers or staff will bring out pre-packed boxes. We want to do our very best to support our community during this difficult time while keeping our customers, volunteers, and staff as safe as we possibly can. Beginning immediately, the food shelf will be closed Fridays until further notice. If we all pull together we can beat this!

To see more, please go here to read about our COVID-19 Response:

https://bcfsmn.org/bcfss-emergency-response-to-covid-19/

It’s time to S-T-R-E-T-C-H your donation!

Each year during March, Greater Minneapolis Community Connections gives food shelves across Minnesota the opportunity to participate in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. During the Campaign, which this year runs from Sunday, March 1 to Sunday, April 12, BCFS will receive a partial match for all donations of food and funds. In 2019, we served a record 11,600 households and shared a record 925,000 pounds. Thanks to the 2019 March FoodShare, we received a match of over $10,000 to help us purchase food during the summer months when usage was up and donations were lower. This is a great opportunity to multiply your donation!

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We are a SuperShelf!

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On Wednesday, February 5 2020, BCFS was officially certified as a SuperShelf. Dianne Davis Kenning from UMN Extension arrived with her comprehensive checklist and spent about an hour going through the Food Shelf to make sure we are meeting all the requirements. We passed inspection and scored five out of five pineapples! We are so proud of our beautiful store and our new service model, which focuses on abundance, helps all feel welcome, and makes the healthiest choice the easiest choice for our wonderful customers. Many thanks to Dianne, and special thanks to Deb Dilley for all of her hands-on assistance during our transition.

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Goodbye, 2019

As we come to the end of another year, I would like to take a moment of your time to share some of the highlights of 2019. Think of it as my Christmas letter to you.

2019 has been a marvelous year for us here at BCFS. In the beginning of the year, we established a new committee – The Council of Churches, and we restructured our Board of Directors to be more reflective of the community we serve and to be more efficient. The changes were not without angst as we have operated the same way since 1985, but they have proved to be a positive thing for BCFS.

We also created a Farm Vision Committee to assist with planning for our Farm. As we move into the future, we want to be as sustainable as possible, both financially and environmentally. The Vision Committee also assisted with the interviews for our Farm Manager position, and we were able to hire a wonderful new manager, Dorothy Barnes, who worked hard to give us a very successful year.  She has been a great asset to our organization, and staff and volunteers sure enjoy her sparkly personality and hands-on teaching.

In July and August, we hosted a fantastic AmeriCorps team of 10 young folks, who assisted on the farm, worked with volunteers, and did all the painting in our store area for our SuperShelf transition.

The impacts of our SuperShelf transition have been much bigger than I ever imagined.  Our customers are loving having so many choices and they feel more empowered and respected. Our wonderful volunteers have risen to the challenge and are leading the way with all the new changes.

In September we hired Debbie Johnson as our Volunteer Coordinator. She is a true gift to our volunteers, the organization and the community and we are thrilled to have her here.

By the end of the year, we will have distributed over 900,000 pounds of food to nearly 3,000 area families. I am so grateful to our member churches, and to all those who support our amazing mission. I am also grateful for those who receive our help with grace and goodwill. I am grateful for my wonderful staff and board. Most of all, I am grateful for the blessing of being a part of providing food to those who need it.

Today, with our farm fields slumbering under a blanket of deep snow, our deep winter greenhouse is warm and green with radishes, lettuces, chard, pea shoots, beets, carrots, onions, cabbages, and broccoli. If that is not hope and joy, I don’t know what is.

Wishing you all peace, hope, and joy for the Holiday and the New Year!

Mary Mitchell, BCFS Executive Director

 

 

 

The 2019 Farm Project

Another growing season is at an end, and a great one it was. This year, a Farm Vision Committee was established to design the Farm planting and operations, and Dorothy Barnes was hired as our Farm Manager. Together, they planned and planted, and we had a harvest of over 9,000 pounds of produce. This is especially impressive as the acreage planted was cut back significantly this year to allow us to focus on best practices for our high tunnels and fields. To date, the Farm has yielded over 50,000 pounds of fresh, nutritious produce.

Last year we added our large high tunnel, and we harvested over 3,000 pounds of beautiful tomatoes from it this season. We grew peppers in the smaller high tunnel and potatoes, green beans, and onions in our fields. Areas that were not planted were seeded with a cover crop of daikon radish. We also grew veggies and herbs in our raised bed gardens, with some volunteers taking ownership of some of the beds.

We had a great deal of volunteer help from ten wonderful members of Cedar 6 NCCC AmeriCorps, as well as kids and staff from YouthWorks and Upward Bound, ladies from North Homes of Bemidji, employees from Delta Dental, Karvakko, EAPC, and Hazelton Family Dentistry; and students and staff from Schoolcraft and Voyager schools.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to this successful harvest.