South Central Minnesota Food Recovery addresses food insecurity in Greater Mankato Area

From May to October 2021, the project made a total of 8,250 meals and is on track to surpass those numbers in 2022.
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 7:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2022 at 8:09 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - South Central Minnesota Food Recovery is a nonprofit that grew out of an idea that started at the Wooden Spoon in Old Town Mankato.

It aims to address food insecurity in our community, which, according to Feeding America, affects more than 38 million Americans, including almost 12 million children.

They rescue food from being thrown away and create healthy ready-made meals to give back to the south central Minnesota community.

“In 2021, we were able to take in 43 tons of different food recovery, and we are well on our way with already taking in 20 tons of food so far this year,” Wood Spoon Owner Natasha Frost said.

Service providers and individuals pick up and distribute the fresh produce and meals throughout the region, including through Mayo Clinic, MY Place, and ECHO Food Shelf.

“There are more people here every week. This week has been pretty dynamite with over 100 households per day,” said Trevor Beuning, an ECHO Food Shelf volunteer.

The project received a grant from Blue Earth, Brown, Nicollet, Le Sueur and Waseca Counties Statewide Health Improvement Partnerships (SHIP).

The grant will be used to create and operate a food-safety certified space that volunteers can use for food processing and meal preparation.

“We know that there’s a lot of partners in the community that are interested in hunger relief efforts. They’re really increasing access to those healthy foods and we’re just excited to be a part of it,” explained Cierra Thibert, Public Health Specialist for Blue Earth County.

From May to October 2021, the project made a total of 8,250 meals, or 11,674 servings of food, and is on track to surpass those numbers in 2022.

“A lot of the times our families are on the run, maybe a full-time job, maybe several, and just being able to have that available at home, just to be able to have healthy meals as well. And they’re going on our door as fast as we’re getting them in,” explained Daisy De Leon, manager of ECHO Food Shelf.

The new space will be in Frost Plaza in Mankato and will focus on processing fresh produce and turning them into healthful ready-made meals.

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