Crystal Food Shelf To Give Clients More Personal Choice
An expanded shopping experience is coming to clients who visit the NEAR Food Shelf in Crystal.
Currently, clients can only pick staple items from a small shopping area in the front of the building. Shelf-stable items are prebagged in the morning. Another cart is packed later.
“A second cart will be packed in the afternoon when the client shows up that has all the meat and the refrigerated items and we make an ask-for list that they can choose from those items,” said Glenda Parkhurst, morning volunteer coordinator.
But things are about to change.
NEAR plans to remodel the food shelf to give clients more access to choosing items they want. That means once the remodel happens, all of the prepacked shopping carts will be gone.
Clients will be able to come into the warehouse and pick their own items. It’s part of process for NEAR to become certified into the SuperShelf program.
Transforming the warehouse into a place clients can shop will mean creating a new exit and changing the layout. Healthier foods will be first.
“There will be a flow for them to follow and signage to let them know how much of each they can take from these different items and so hopefully that will be a streamline flow to get them in and out fairly quickly so we can serve as many folks as possible,” said Thea Bruley, food shelf manager at NEAR.
Less Food Waste, More Dignity
Volunteers say giving clients more choice means less food waste and more dignity.
“Being able to choose what they want and not having it packed for them, and then receiving food that they won’t eat, or can’t use… it’s just going to be so much better for everyone,” said volunteer Sandra Blackman.
Food shelf workers say the timeline for the remodel to finish is between September and October.
NEAR Food Shelf is also looking to refresh its brand by creating a new logo and website.
Anyone is welcome to shop at the food bank.
NEAR is always looking for volunteers. You can reach them at (763) 533-2836.