Prairie Five Community Action Council and Second Harvest Heartland are sponsoring a free food distribution event on Thursday, June 25. The event will take place at the Chippewa County Fairgrounds from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to anyone who is in need.

Prairie Five Community Action Council and Second Harvest Heartland are sponsoring a free food distribution event on Thursday, June 25. The event will take place at the Chippewa County Fairgrounds from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to anyone who is in need.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to temporarily lose their jobs as government mandated restrictions went into effect. Many individuals and families found themselves in difficult financial situations.

Angela Nissen, Outreach and Senior Services Program Director for Prairie Five, said: “The Chippewa County Food Shelf has been very busy serving the residents of Chippewa County. The service model is different, with the Community Services building closed to the public. We are still taking calls and distributing food for curbside pickup.”

According to Nissen, there has been an increase in the number of people seeking assistance from the food shelf since the pandemic began. She said: “There has been an increase in the need for our services, and we hope people will call the food shelf if they are in need of food.”

Of course the current economy and increase in unemployment is driving the need for services of the food shelf. “Many people have found themselves in need of services that they were not seeking before the COVID-19 crisis. The food shelf is here for those who need us,” Nissen said.

Even during normal times the food shelf needs donations, but the pandemic has exacerbated that need. “The food shelf is always in need of donations,” said Nissen. “Donations can be dropped off at the Community Services building, or mailed to P.O. Box 159, Montevideo, MN, 56265.”

Food donations are always accepted, but cash donations are preferred. “Cash allows us to purchase more food through Second Harvest Heartland food bank,” said Nissen. Nissen emphasized that, despite the Community Services building being closed, the food shelf remains open. “We are open,” she said, “and we are here if people need us. They can call us at (320) 226-8775.”

Those who would like to participate in the food distribution event on Thursday, July 25, should enter the fairgrounds through the north gate and watch for signs. People are asked to remain in their vehicles while the boxes of food are brought to them. Each household will receive one box of produce, one box of mixed dairy, and one box of meat (chicken and pork).

No appointment is necessary, and is open for all households that are in need!