Just another AreaVoices site
Wow, it has been awhile since I have blogged to this sight and a lot has been going on.
First, we have the largest food drive of the year coming up and could really use some help! Every year, the Postal Service holds a nationwide food drive.Â Each post office picks up food at residential mail boxes, takes it back to the post office, where a group then sorts the food into categories. Then they deliver it to the food pantry. This will be taking place on Saturday, May 14th.
Sorting the food can take several days or more, so we have set up times that people can come in to help. You can just show up or R.S.V.P. through our Facebook page â€œRiver Falls Community Food Pantryâ€.
Â So you know you are at the right page, our logo looks like this:
And our address is listed as 222 N. Main St.
Note: In the future, we will post any upcoming food drives that we need help with as an event on our page. So if you â€œLikeâ€ us, you will see these notifications through your Facebook page.
Â Volunteer times:
Saturday, May 14th: Noon to 5pm
Monday, May 16th: Noon to 4pm
Tuesday, May 17th: 2pm-4pm
Since moving into this space, with the help of Second Harvest, we are now receiving produce from the Hudson Target twice a week, adding to the produce we have been receiving from the New Richmond Wal-Mart. We just purchased and received a new three door refrigerator to increase our refrigeration space. This helps us extend the life of the produce, allowing us to get it into the hands of more clients.
We love our new space!Â And as we were told would happen; the number of people we serve has gone up. Â We moved in October 1st, 2010. The following graph shows the number of visits we received each month and the total amount of food we distributed.
Other highlights: In January of this year, Second Harvest Food Bank chose to spotlight our food pantry as agency of the month. Considering all the food pantries in their region, being selected for this is quite an honor.
Itâ€™s Thanks Giving and there is so much to be thankful for.
I am thankful to call River Falls home. This community has so much going for it, especially its citizens and how they step up to the plate to support their neighbors. We have so many different programs in place to help each other, including the RFC Food Pantry.
Of course, like most, I am thankful for my husband, children, family and friends; that everyone is healthy and doing well. But I am also thankful for this community: The churches, civic groups, schools and people who step out of themselves to help other people. Volunteers and people like Jerry Carter and Mel Germanson who go above and beyond to help other people, there is no amount of money equal to their service in the community.Â If it werenâ€™t for all of the above, there would be kids going to school without jackets, more people living on the streets, more people going hungry, more kids without gifts to open on Christmas, just to name a few.
Because of these groups and people, we at the food pantry are continually able to help people put food on the table and feed their kids. Having been on the receiving end for food, health care, Christmas gifts for my kids, assistance with utilities & rent, I know how humbling it is, yet I also know how grateful I was that there were people out there, that I would never meet, yet they cared for people like me.Â Itâ€™s because of those people, that I give so much of my time to this community. Giving in any form is so rewarding, even if you donâ€™t see the effect of your generosity, just knowing you are making a difference in someoneâ€™s life is awesome!
So I want to thank each of you for all you do, in many different ways, to help others. Know that there is someone out there who is very grateful for your compassion. That you have made a difference to someone!
If you want to reach out and do something for the community, there are many different ways to do so. I donâ€™t have all the answers, but feel free to contact me and I may be able to find an organization to match you up with.
Have a very safe and happy Thanks Giving.
Our open houses have come and gone and they were great! We had roughly 60 people come through to see our new location. Many had seen our location at Ezekiel and they were very impressed with our new location. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
There is so much more space and it is proving to be much more efficient with everything in one room. We guessed and prayed it would be true, but didnâ€™t know for sure, that this new space would make serving the clients much easier for us and faster and easier to shop for the clients. Itâ€™s awesome!
One thing we heard over and over again from other food pantryâ€™s that had made similar moves, was that we would see an increase in clients and volunteers almost instantly and we did! It will be interesting to see how the statistics go over the next couple months vs. the historical records. The first shift that we were open was Monday morning, October 4th. We usually see 8-10 clients and we had 17. Almost every shift has seen an increase. At the open houses we had 6 people sign up to be new volunteers.
We just had our first delivery at this location and it was so slick!! We had many needs that had to be met when we were looking for a new space. One of them was to have easy access for deliveries. In our old location, the semi would pull up to the alley entrance at Ezekiel and drop the pallets of food. We would then load the boxes onto carts, go up the elevator several times, down the long hall to the other end of the building, past the preschool (this was nerve racking with little kids in the hall waiting to go to school), sort the boxes in the hall and then distribute to class rooms or the pantry. When the truck pulled up to the back door of our new space, we had a few volunteers outside putting the boxes on the conveyer and volunteers on the inside who would pull the boxes off and put them right onto the storage shelves. It went so fast, that the volunteers stayed and helped stock the shelves, all in less time than it would have taken to get the boxes in and sorted in the hall.
A few other things we had wished for came true.
We had daydreamed of a conveyor to move deliveries and my husbandâ€™s company donated a really nice one. What a blessing that was when we were moving all the food in and then again when we received our first delivery of over 4,000lbs from Second Harvest Food Bank.
We had also daydreamed of a floor scale and a second computer. Thanks to West Cap, we were given the funds to purchase both! The floor scale was so we wouldnâ€™t have to lift the heavy bags of groceries, but just roll the carts on to it. Many of our volunteers are retired and even for those of us who are not, lifting the bags out of the carts and onto our table top scale would stress even the strongest of backs. The scale arrived after our first shift and we were like a bunch of grown kids getting a major early Christmas gift! To have been a fly on the wall then, we were all giddy with huge smiles plastered on our faces! The second computer was for our new office (no more desk squeezed between the counter and freezer) to keep all our data sensitive files and documents separate from the computer used by volunteers to serve clients. It was just delivered this past week and I had fun setting it up and getting it ready to go.
After the years of planning and searching and then months of hard work, our move is over and done. It is such a joy to see the faces of the kids having a place to play while their parents shop; to see three and four families shopping at once instead of only two at the most; to see how a bright and friendly environment makes a difference to all the people who walk through the doors.
To see all of itâ€¦.. All I can say is â€œWowâ€ and thank you Lord.
The River Falls Food Pantry Board would like to thank the following for their dedication to making the Food Pantry move a reality:
Rudesill Builders (Mark and Nate)Â – Carpentry, walls, doors
RC Drywall (Roger Crandall) – Sheetrocking
Arrow Building Center (Dennis Anderson) â€“ Building Supplies
Circuitech (Wendell and Earl) â€“ Conveyor System
City of River Falls (Joe Lenzen and Mike Noreen) â€“ Building inspections and efficient lighting rebates)Â
Commercial and Residential Security Solutions (CRSS)
(Keith Gehrman) â€“ Security system
Foster Foundation â€“ Furniture and other support
Glass Express â€“ Front door
Gordyâ€™s Locks â€“ Door locks
Home Appliance Center â€“ Moving freezers
Indianhead Glass, Inc. â€“ Front door
JS Contractor Services (Jim Smith) â€“ Wall and ceiling construction
Kwik Trip â€“Shelving units
Lundâ€™s Hardware (Fred Benson) – Paint
Main Street Properties, Inc. (Toni Cadwallader) – Landlord
ReStore (Andy Scheiderer) â€“ Office Furniture
River Falls Electric (Jim Farmer) – Lighting
Steiner Plumbing, Electric and Heating, Inc. (Paul Steiner and crew)
Thorough Built Construction (Mike Dorricott) â€“ Welcome counter
Viking Coca Cola â€“ Moving large cooler
UWRF â€“ Facilities Management/Custodial Services
(Mike Stifter and Nate Beeman) â€“ Floor stripping equipment
WestCAP â€“ Cart scale and computer
WPPI Energy (Weston Arndt) â€“ Efficient lighting rebates
Air Quality Associates, Inc. Â (Jim Viskocil)â€“Mold Inspection
H & F Furniture -Carpet
Abundant Life Church â€“ Trailer and help on moving day
Associated Bank â€“ washing shelving
Fellowship of Christian Athletes â€“help on moving day
3M â€“ painting and cleaning
UWRF Students â€“ painting and cleaning
(And dozens of other individual volunteers from the surrounding community!Â We canâ€™t name you all but appreciate your help so much!)
Â Special Thanks to:
Ezekiel Lutheran Church (For housing the Food Pantry during the last 20+ years!)
River Falls Ministerium (For their prayers and support!)
Here are just a few pictures from moving day. We had help from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, they were a god send. They helped us to pack up the food in our old location and move it into our new location. What an awesome group of teenagers with an excellent work ethic.
Riding in on the conveyor will not be normal practice; however, after working so hard, one should have a little fun.
Also pictured is our children’s play area. It was important to us for the kids to have a special spot to play while their parents “shop”.
After over two years of researching and planning, the move of the RFC Food Pantry is finally here! We are very excited for all the possibilities this larger space will enable us to do for our clients.Â
The RFC Food Pantry has opened in our new location on Monday, October 4th with our normal business hours.
The RFC Food Pantry will be holdingÂ â€œOpen Houseâ€ twice for the public:Â
Saturday, October 9th from 1pm to 5pm
Tuesday, October 12th from 4pm to 8pm.
We hope you will come by to see all we have been working towards and to learn more about how we serve people in need in the River Falls School District.
As always, we are looking for new volunteers to serve the clients, stock shelves, help with food deliveries, food drives and more. If interested, please contact us by phone or in person during our open hours. You can also e-mail us of your interest.
This is my first time blogging, so bear with me.
The RFC Food Pantry opened in it’s new location today! We are so excited about this move!