In November, 2012, the Redwood Area Food Shelf distributed 10,006 pounds of food.
A year later, in November, 2013, the total had nearly doubled to 19,862 pounds.
That’s even taking into account the fact the Redwood Area food shelf now covers fewer towns than it did a year ago.
To take into account the large increase in local demand, the food shelf had to take several actions in the past year according to volunteer Gary Revier.
Starting Oct. 2012, the Redwood Falls Wal-Mart has donated perishable food to the Redwood Area Food Shelf three times a week.
“It’s been a godsend,” said Revier. “When they started donating to us, they said we might get 7,000 pounds of food a month, but it’s usually been closer to 9,000 pounds.”
Perishable foods include items such as potatoes, onions, yogurt, eggs, juices, some meats, “and other commodities that we didn’t have available,” said Revier.
The foods are donated just before they reach their expiration dates.
“The local Wal-Mart has been extremely cooperative, with some of their associates helping collect the food,” said Revier, who pointed out Wal-Mart also donated the shelveing for the new storerooms.
“It works out for everyone,” said Revier. “If Wal-Mart didn’t allow us to do this, they’d have to just throw the food away while it’s still good.”
To create additional space, the Redwood Alliance Church allowed the food shelf to knock holes in several walls to create doorways, and move into additional storerooms.
“We almost doubled the amount of room we have,” said Revier.
The food shelf is up to 33 volunteers responsible for everything from stocking shelves to collecting food to doing paperwork and all the other day to day duties.
Starting last June, people going to the Redwood Area Food Shelf must have home addresses in Redwood Falls, Morton, the Lower Sioux Community, Franklin, Fairfax, Delhi, Belview, Echo, Vesta, Milroy, or Seaforth.
Residents of other towns have to go to the food shelves designated for their community.
According to Revier, this new policy was imposed upon the Redwood Area Food Shelf by its main supplier, 2nd Harvest Minnesota. The reason: food shelf use is up all over.