Lead Author of Mobile Food Pantry funding bill to tour The Open Door’s site at his former grade school
EAGAN – One afternoon each month, tables filled with colorful fresh fruits and vegetables line the halls at Hidden Valley Elementary in District 191. Hidden Valley families are welcome to come and take all they need, no questions asked. This Pop-Up Produce stand is one of more than 20 Mobile Food Pantry sites served by The Open Door.
On Friday, March 22, State Representative Hunter Cantrell (DFL-District 56A), a former Hidden Valley student, will visit the school to learn more about the impact of mobile food distributions in this community. Rep. Cantrell is the lead author on a funding bill before the state legislature (HF 1049) that would supply much needed funding for mobile food pantry programs statewide - $500,000 in grants per year to create new mobile programs and to support existing mobile programs like The Open Door.
When: Friday, March 22 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Hidden Valley Elementary (ISD 191), 13875 Glendale Road, Savage
Who: Rep. Cantrell, representatives from The Open Door, Hunger Solutions Minnesota and ISD 191
At Hidden Valley, 79% of families qualify for free/reduced lunch benefits. Each month The Open Door Mobile Food Pantry volunteers serve more than 3,000 pounds of food to more than 80 Hidden Valley families.
Mobile food pantries are a critical solution to addressing food insecurity and an effective way to meet the unique needs of suburban poverty. Financial challenges, mobility issues, and a lack of transportation impact thousands of seniors and families across Dakota County and limit their access to vital nutrition. The Open Door designed their collection of Mobile Food Programs to take fresh and healthy food directly into the parts of the community where it is needed most.
The Open Door has the only Mobile Food Pantry in Dakota County, serving sites across Dakota County in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville and Rosemount. They include five schools, five low income neighborhoods, three senior housing complexes, two colleges and two special needs apartment complexes.
In 2018, The Open Door’s Mobile Pantry served more than 2,000 people each month, distributing 265,630 pounds of fresh and healthy food. Nearly 70% of that food was perishable. The Open Door currently has a waiting list of schools and senior communities who would like to participate in the program.
The Open Door’s Mobile Pantry also brings farm fresh produce directly to more neighborhoods via seasonal Pop-Up Produce Stands. Pop-Up Produce visited five neighborhoods in 2018. Between 60 and 80 families visit Pop-Up Produce stands at each stop. In 2018, Pop-Up Produce stands distributed more than 50,000 pounds of fresh food.