Updates from The Food Group food access partners at Valley Outreach

two people picking out fresh produce at valley outreach food shelf. walls are yellow, the produce they're choosing from are bright green cucumbers, yellow onions, and. . . some large green kohlrabi! A table of red potatoes and cantaloupe melons is in the background

“A lot of places in the metro are doing this deep, thoughtful work. . . but we’re still seeing this crazy increase [in food shelf visits] across the board.” – Jessica Hauser, Valley Outreach

Valley Outreach is a longtime partner to The Food Group, sharing many of the values that help build a nourishing food system. Located just east of the metro in Washington County, Valley Outreach is Minnesota’s first SuperShelf, meaning shoppers can choose from an intentional selection of fresh produce, protein, dairy, and culturally connected groceries.

Food shelf visits this spring are looking very different, says Jessica Hauser, Development and Communications Manager at Valley Outreach. Just a few weeks ago, the food shelf served nearly 1000 families in one week, more than double their previous pandemic era average of 350 families each week.

According to recent data from Hunger Solutions, food shelf visits across all of Minnesota have been rising rapidly—well beyond the levels of hunger experienced during the pandemic. This past year, families made 1.9 million more visits to MN food shelves than the year before, marking an unprecedented total of 5.5 million food shelf visits.

Jessica shared about a client who recently visited Valley Outreach, traveling from Rochester, MN, nearly 100 miles away. For this person’s family, Valley Outreach was a reliable and accessible place where they were able to meet the needs of their household.

This is far from a feel-good story, though. Jessica explains, “We were happy to help that family in the moment but it shows there’s a bigger problem system wide in being able to help people get the resources they need.”

When you join The Food Group community, you support our work across the food system, providing access to quality foods to partners, and strengthening systems and resources that make food accessible to everyone. Together we are building reliable food solutions for families statewide.

“We’re really happy to be part of the community in Minnesota working to help address these challenges,” says Jessica. “We’re all in it together.”

We Value Nutritious Food
Working with our community partners, The Food Group buys, gleans, grows, and processes fresh produce.

Food Bank
or Food Shelf?
The Food Group is a food bank that supplies other hunger relief agencies with fresh produce, frozen meat, grocery staples, and other household necessities. Food shelves distribute free food to individuals and families in their local communities.

The Food Group believes in food equity. They believe in culturally specific foods. They believe in meeting people where they are at. And most of all, they believe in dignity.

The Food Group volunteer and donor

Did You Know?
Over 20% of Black households and 19% of Latinx households report food insecurity, compared to 10% of white households.

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The Food Group

We’re a nonprofit working at the intersection of equity and access to fresh, sustainable foods. From farming to distribution, we provide fresh food across MN and WI.

The Food Group is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. EIN 41-1246504 Contributions are tax-deductible to the full amount provided by the law.

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