Recognizing that increased numbers of households may be struggling with food uncertainty due to evolving issues with COVID-19, Hubbard County Food Shelf director Bob Hansen announced that emergency food is available to those in need – at no cost.

The food shelf is also providing home delivery to Akeley, Nevis and Park Rapids, plus Osage and Menahga households in the Park Rapids School District.

“Because we care about their health and wellbeing, we feel it’s important to reach out and inform members of our communities of our service available to them in their time of need,” Hansen said. “We’re here for them.”

Hansen hasn’t seen an influx of visitors. “Not yet,” he said. “I think it’s just on the brink of. I think there are people out there wondering, ‘What am I going to do?’ I want them to know we’re here because there are people that wouldn’t even think of us, otherwise.”

The food shelf has received “an outpouring from the community.” Donations are up a bit, compared to last year, Hansen said, likely in anticipation of increased food insecurity for the newly unemployed and homebound.

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The food shelf, like grocery stores, is deemed an essential service. Located at 308 Pleasant Ave. S. in Park Rapids, hours are 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays.

A picture ID and proof of household physical address is required, along with the name, birth date and relationship to the head of household for all family members.

The food allotment is based on the family size and varies depending on the food items on hand.

General groceries, bakery goods, dairy, frozen meat and fresh produce are included in each allotment.

Hansen is developing a list of volunteers willing to deliver meals. “I’m looking for more,” he said.

Volunteers have already begun doorstep deliveries. Prepared boxes of food are placed in the volunteer’s vehicle. After dropping at the client’s doorstep, the volunteer knocks on the door and walks away or calls the client to inform them.

Hansen reiterated that no monetary contribution is expected.

To arrange for home delivery, call 732-1282 or 255-3538.

Due to COVID-19, service procedures have changed for clients who arrive at the food shelf. Only one person is received at a time. “We’re trying to maintain social distancing,” Hansen explained.

Door handles and surfaces are regularly disinfected between client visits.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to stay safe internally,” he said.

Financial and food donations are always welcome.

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