Huge turnout for UWNEMN food distribution

According to estimates, 726 people in Chisholm received food during last Wednesday’s United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) free food distribution.

UWNEMN distributed boxes of frozen taco meat and cheese, boxes of frozen barbecue pork patties and cheese, and boxes of fresh produce from their building July 22nd in partnership with Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Farmers to Families program.

There were no income requirements to receive the boxes of food; anyone interested was able to drive through UWNEMN’s parking lot for contactless pickup.

When cars pulled up, volunteers asked drivers how many people were in their homes and what communities they came from so UWNEMN could determine the interest level in the community for a program like this. Organizers were surprised by the response.

“We were surprised at the turnout, given this was our first time hosting a food distribution,” said UWNEMN Community Impact Coordinator Michelle Lampton. “We were even more surprised to find out that more than half of the boxes we distributed stayed right here in Chisholm.”

All-told, 1,914 frozen protein boxes and 1,560 fresh produce boxes were distributed throughout the region. Many of those were brought to different cities around the region by AEOA.

UWNEMN distributed 557 frozen protein boxes and 420 fresh produce boxes from their site in Chisholm; 318 of the frozen protein boxes went to families and individuals in Chisholm.

“We are thrilled to be able to get that amount of food out into our communities, especially at a time like this,” said UWNEMN Executive Director Shelley Valentini. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of our volunteers who worked so incredibly hard all day.”

AEOA & UWNEMN are already in discussion about bringing more frozen food distributions to the area in the near future.