Since 2000, the monthly food shelf experienced a 45% increase in monthly usage. This increase in food shelf usage prompted the board and staff to examine the feasibility of expanding the food shelf. The initial planning began in late 2003. The initial focus was on remodeling and re-configuring the existing building at 416 East Second Street. By February 2004, the board formed an ad-hoc committee. This committee spent a great deal of time addressing the desired outcomes for this remodeling plan. Then, after looking at this building a second time, the committee spent months examining the benefits and costs associated with purchasing this additional space. In September 2005, the board approved the purchase of this building using reserve funds and we started remodeling in January 2006.
The 402 East Second Street building houses the office staff, the food shelf, and a multipurpose room equipped with kitchen amenities. We use this space for classes in nutrition, meal planning and food sampling. We have a prime opportunity to capture the attention of our clients and provide them with guidance and information for making better food choices. Today, the activities of this organization are very straight forward: to secure and distribute food, clothing, information, referrals, and emergency assistance in a respectful and dignified manner to people in need. The agency operates a food shelf that is open 5 days a week, coordinates the home delivered meals programs within the cities of Winona and Goodview, administers emergency assistance to those needing financial assistance and operates a used clothing store. The agency has four employees; Executive Director, Volunteer Coordinator, Client Services Coordinator and a Nutrition & Health Educator and relies on over 300 volunteers to keep the programs operational. A volunteer board governs the agency, actively setting the strategic direction for the agency, and providing financial accountability to ensure the funding is used properly.