Early in 2019, FFEN had the pleasure of being introduced to the NCBC Food Shelf in south Minneapolis, MN by a referral from The Food Group, an independent food bank in the metro area. (What’s the difference between a local food shelf/pantry and a regional food bank? Click HERE for how a 2017 FFEN grantee food shelf defines it.)
NCBC Food Shelf runs out of New Creation Baptist Church and has been serving the community and broader metro area for over 8 years. Pastor Daniel McKizzie shares that this food shelf was formed by seeing the need in their community as well as feeling called to love the community outside of the four church walls. Over the last year, the food shelf has been seeing more and more families each week--often welcoming 10-20 new families each Saturday. Some of this increased demand is due to economic pressures families are facing but clients are also sharing the value of the welcoming experience they find at NCBC--full of fresh food, lots of choices and a community gathering space. Pastor Daniel noticed that they were able to source enough food to serve everyone but they needed more cooler and freezer space to store it between delivery and distribution. They were also seeking some recommendations on flow and layout so that they could reduce the wait time for the increased number of families they were serving.
After a visit from FFEN volunteer and board member, Sue Gillman, a plan was developed to incorporate process changes and to speed up the shopping process by creating a more open layout for clients. A funding request for two additional freezers and eight shelving units was brought to Alerus Mortgage as an opportunity to support this incredible neighborhood food shelf. We were thrilled that Alerus chose to fully fund these needs.
In talking with Pastor Daniel after the equipment and changes had been implemented, he shared some of the significant impact from the changes. The new freezers were fully stocked with free, high-quality protein products that they were able to access from the food bank. The new shelving has allowed for easier access by clients and volunteers (no need for a step-stool to get to food on the top shelf anymore) and a more consistent layout for the dry goods, all
contributing to an easier and faster shopping experience for all. While the food shelf improvements have been welcomed by clients and volunteers, it has also had ripple effects across the church to increase engagement and buy-in within the broader community. Pastor Daniel shared that working with FFEN was “Truly a blessing. You have helped us to see how we can improve what we do so that we can more positively impact our clients.”