March 2021
Springing Ahead to Feed our Neighbors
2020: A Year for the Books
Bemidji Community Food Shelf staff and volunteers are proud to have served our community through this remarkable year. Here are some highlights of our 2020 journey:
  •  When the pandemic was declared in March we lost about 70% of our regular volunteers due to health concerns.
  • Parking lot distribution started March 23, staffed by volunteers from area businesses and some of our regulars. United Way provided a staff to cover for a quarantining employee.
  • We implemented limited delivery services to homebound customers.
  •  A new roof was installed and at $79,000, was the largest single expense in our history aside from our building purchase.
  • A new truck was purchased with a COVID Transportation Grant.
  • Our office space was updated thanks in part to a donation of carpet tiles from Kraus-Anderson Construction and with help from volunteers Nancy and Mike Mason and Gerry Cardinal.
  • A new, larger walk-in freezer was installed, funded by a gift from the Howe Thiel Charitable Fund, a COVID grant, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, and MDU Resources.
  • The Farm at the Food Shelf harvested a record 15,000 pounds of produce for our customers.
  • We partnered with Community Resource Connections to deliver over 30,000 pounds of food to high-risk seniors in Blackduck.
  • We moved operations back inside the building in October, with a COVID-safe protocol.
  • We ended 2020 with a record 12,584 household visits, distributing a total of over 820,000 pounds of food and with senior visits up 30%.
March 1 - April 11
March FoodShare
The need for food throughout the state and nation has risen dramatically since March 2020. With summer arriving and no relief in sight for many pandemic-affected families, making sure we have the capacity to help our community is ever on my mind.
Even in normal times, hunger is not a seasonal condition (most food shelves are busier in the summer), and support for food shelves tends to be much higher in winter months. During the Campaign, GMCC and its partners team up to offer a partial match, which spurs donations and helps us make it through the busy summer months.
This year, our goal is to collect 35,000 pounds of food and $100,000 in donations.
I am encouraging families, businesses, fraternal organizations and clubs to get involved this year through fun, COVID-safe activities and competitions.

"Let the Campaign begin!"
--Mary Mitchell, BCFS Executive Director
Food Shelf Needs
  • Personal care items, including feminine products
  • Cleaning products, like laundry soap
  • Gently used plastic shopping bags
  • Our Family products UPC barcodes (must include all the numbers)

Got garden veggies or local eggs?
Please remember your neighbors!
As spring approaches, many of us are planning our gardens. Please keep our customers in mind when you have extra produce. Our Farm cannot meet all of our produce needs and we love to receive your fresh, garden veggies. We can also take local eggs with some requirements. Call us to learn more. You can make a difference in the health and productivity of our community!
Spring is in the Air at The Farm
It may be cold now, but spring is in the air since the BCFS Farm Committee has started meeting to plan for the 2021 growing season.
The Farm at the Food Shelf started in 2014 and has access to about 5 acres of land. Last year, our staff and community volunteers harvested about 15,000 pounds of fresh produce for area food insecure households.
Volunteers have found the socially distanced, safe, manual work at The Farm to be a very fulfilling and meaningful use of their time during the COVID 19 pandemic. We are so grateful for the assistance from the greater Bemidji Community. Without these dedicated volunteers, The Farm would not be a successful venture.
Last year we added garlic to our plantings and we will be expanding this planting next season. We will be growing more onions, carrots, squash and potatoes. We will be adding celery to our row plantings and expect a bumper crop of rhubarb. The deep winter greenhouse has been planted and is already yielding leafy greens.
Farm Committee member Chris Tower has started some seedlings for The Farm and for our annual plant sale in May. Last year’s plant sale was so successful we ran out of many varieties, so this year we’ll expand on both the quantities and the varieties of plants offered for sale, adding more well-known varieties of tomatoes.  
If you have not yet been a volunteer at The Farm, please consider giving of some of your time and talent this summer. Not all the tasks are physically stressful and the outdoor work is healthy and refreshing. For more information, email Dorothy at bcfsfarm@gmail.com.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H your donation during March!
All donations to BCFS received March 1 - April 11 will receive a partial match through the March FoodShare campaign.

Please help us feed our community through the summer months!

Your support is needed and appreciated!