White Bear Area Food Shelf Opens New Community Market with Ribbon Cutting and Open House May 30

New Location Offers In-Store Shopping and Access to Partner Organizations’ Supportive Services

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (May 28, 2024) – White Bear Area Food Shelf (WBAFS) has opened a second location, the Community Market, where neighbors experiencing food insecurity can go to shop in-person for healthy, culturally-connected foods and meet directly with partner organizations providing additional supportive services. The new innovative model of supportive care includes two office spaces used on a rotating basis by the partner organizations. A Ribbon Cutting and Open House will be held at the Community Market on Thursday, May 30 at 4:30pm. The event will include remarks by Senator Heather Gustafson; Allison O’Toole, CEO, Second Harvest Heartland; Dan Perry, Board Chair, WBAFS; and Perry Petersen, Executive Director, WBAFS. The event is open to the public.

Since 1977, WBAFS has broken down barriers to accessing food and other support services by adapting programs to meet neighbors’ needs. Community Market is open to all, and no appointment is necessary. Neighbors can meet onsite with a variety of partner organizations that provide additional supportive services. Those organizations include Ramsey County’s Women, Infant, and Children Program (WIC), St. Andrews Community Resource Center offering rental assistance and shelter applications, White Bear Lake Area School District’s Community Services & Recreation providing early childhood and adult education and senior care, Northeast Youth and Family Services offering mental health support, and Royal Credit Union providing financial literacy education. This collaborative initiative was made possible by the support of Second Harvest Heartland, Manitou Fund, and Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy.

Food insecurity continues to reach historic highs across Minnesota and in the local community. WBAFS served twice as many visitors in 2023 than it did during the pandemic in 2020. Visits in 2024 are up another 46% from 2023. Every month, volunteers collect 45,000 pounds of food from nine local grocery stores for distribution at Community Market. Those stores include Cub Foods Meadowlands, Cub Foods Arden Hills, Kowalski’s, Lunds and Byerly’s, Fresh Thyme, Target, Walmart, Kwik Trip – Vadnais Heights, and Kwik Trip – Centerville. Over 200 dedicated volunteers deliver all WBAFS programs every month including Community Market, curbside pickup, mobile markets for seniors and college students, and weekend supplements for elementary children. The new Community Market is located at 2446 County Road F in White Bear Lake and is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00-4:00pm. WBAFS continues to operate curbside pickup at 1884 Whitaker Street in White Bear Lake Monday and Tuesday from 4:00-7:00pm and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11:00am-2:00pm.

“With walk-in food access and service providers on site, the Community Market makes it easier for people in our community to find and receive support.” Perry Petersen, Executive Director, White Bear Area Food Shelf

“Second Harvest Heartland is proud to support this community market, which prioritizes shopper choice and provides a hub for neighbors to meet with other helping organizations,” said Second Harvest Heartland CEO Allison O’Toole. “When food banks and food shelves work hand-in-hand, we not only increase the efficiency of every dollar in our emergency food system, but we also better connect with our neighbors and hear their voices.”

“With great enthusiasm Northeast Youth and Family Services has partnered with the WBAFS to have staff at the Community Market. We are committed to ensuring access to mental health care, and this partnership allows us to meet folks where they are at to build a bridge to care. We hope this will help those whose mental health needs are a barrier to their basic needs make significant strides towards stability.” Angela Lewis Dmello, President and CEO, Northeast Youth and Family Services

“We are grateful to be a partner with the Community Market. Collaboration is critical in social services. Working in partnership will continue to allow us to serve more people in our community and provide better access to services.” Breanna Kealy, Director, St. Andrews Community Resource Center

About White Bear Area Food Shelf:

The White Bear Area Food Shelf has served as a critical resource for families experiencing food insecurity since 1977.  Providing food and support to over 6,000 families each month, the organization works toward eliminating barriers that have traditionally limited access to healthy food for families living on a low or fixed income, with the goal to end food insecurity in the White Bear Area. The original food shelf location offers curbside pickup five days a week. The new Community Market offers in-person shopping four days a week and access to partner organizations providing on-site additional supportive services.

Comments are closed.