MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - With food insecurity being a growing issue across the nation, the Wooden Spoon has partnered up with area leaders to create the South Central Minnesota Recovery Project.
Natasha Frost, President and Owner of Wooden Spoon, said, “There’s a need in the community to distribute fresh, minimally processed foods; either produce or lean proteins. There’s just not enough of that available to our community members, and we also saw that a lot of that product was going in [the] garbage.”
The project takes in excess food, predominantly fresh produce and meat, from area businesses and restaurants to redistribute to those in need.
“We would see the food that would come in or be on a truck, we were able to process it, and then just being able to take that and share it with people who, during the pandemic, did not have access to it, and getting it out to the community members and organizations that needed it,” added Nicole Lange, Senior Manager of Finance & Operation at Wooden Spoon.
The initiative took off after the project received a $75,000 Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue Grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The grant funded the construction of a storage facility with industrial coolers to keep perishable items fresh.
In addition to combating food insecurity in our community, the project prevents fresh food from ending up in the landfill.
Ben Geer, Director of Spiritual Growth at Grace Lutheran Church, stated, “The way this can grow just blows my mind. Like, the things that can happen with this, it gets me so excited.”
Locals say they can already see the impact the initiative is making.
“I really wish I could just capture the big smiles and the gratefulness that we see on their faces,” said Cecil Fountain, Diversity Program Manager at Vine Faith In Action.