Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf moves to Oakdale


submitted photo • The Christian Cupboard Community Food Shelf began operating out of its new Oakdale building on the Guardian Angels Catholic Church property on Jan. 18. The 6,000-square-foot space features refrigerators, freezers and shelving units on wheels, so it can be reconfigured as needed. The food shelf serves residents of Oakdale, Woodbury, Landfall and the southern leg of Maplewood.

The Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf opened its doors to clients for the first time at its new Oakdale location Jan. 18. 

The brand new, handicap accessible, 6,000-square-foot building, which had been under construction since September, allows room for more refrigerators and freezers, which will help the food shelf provide more fruit, vegetable and meat offerings to the residents of Oakdale, Woodbury, Landfall and the southern leg of Maplewood. 

The new building is located at 8260 Fourth St. N. on the property of Guardian Angels Catholic Church, only about ten minutes away from the food shelf’s former location in the lower level of Woodbury Lutheran Church.

According to the nonprofit’s executive director, Greig Metzger, CCEFS finished out its last service day at Woodbury Lutheran Church on Jan. 12. The organization tried to minimize the amount of food it needed to transfer by handing out extra items to clients and being sure not to order more food than it would need.

Following that last service day, volunteers packed the remaining food onto pallets, transported the pallets to the new building and began unpacking and organizing at the new space. Although the typical hours of operation include Mondays, the food shelf was closed Jan. 15 as volunteers continued the process.

Metzger noted that the Oakdale building includes 11 refrigerators and freezers in addition to new shelving units, all of which are on wheels, so the space can be reconfigured for different events. Because it also features garage doors in the receiving area, volunteers can be in a temperature-controlled environment when unloading pallets of food.

“I think people will be quite comfortable with the experience, in terms of shopping here, and I know it will be a much better volunteer experience,” Metzger said.

 

More space, 

more options

Although CCEFS is set to continue operating with its existing hours and mix of volunteers, Metzger noted that the organization plans to expand programming and hours, which will likely require more volunteers to go along with it.

He explained that the first step will probably be a bonus program to make better use of food recovered from grocery stores, which could begin as early as this spring.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re excited about this building, because we work with area grocers to recover food items that they potentially can’t sell retail but are fine to eat,” Metzger said, adding the food shelf might initially open a couple hours a day to provide people access to time-sensitive items like produce, dairy and proteins that need to be consumed right away.

A part of the benefit of operating out of the bigger space, Metzger said, is the flexibility to try different programs, but first the organization needs to get familiar with operating in its new building.

Speaking after the organization’s September groundbreaking event, Metzger said the food shelf’s desire for a larger space stemmed from a need in the community. 

At the time, he said that about 15,000 people in the food shelf’s service area could use food support, but while operating out of Woodbury Lutheran Church, CCEFS was only able to meet about a third of that need due to a lack of space.

Guardian Angels Parish Administrator Denny Farrell said last September that when the food shelf asked for help finding a new building, the church was happy to participate, adding that a food shelf is a logical addition to the church property, which already houses a homeless facility and one of the largest food shelf gardens in the Twin Cities.

Guardian Angels Catholic Church is renting the land to CCEFS for $1 a year on a 40-year lease. A two-year fundraising campaign generated much of the $800,000 needed to construct the building, though Metzger said the nonprofit is still raising money to pay down its roughly $300,000 mortgage.

For more information about Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf or its Raise the Roof fundraising campaign, visit www.ccefs.org.

 


– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

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