Distance learning this past spring brought the issue of hungry families to the forefront. Now during the summer school break, Coon Rapids Middle School continues to help its hungry families in need. Monthly food distributions from the school food shelf have helped fill the gap on tight family budgets.
As another car pulls up, curbside, Coon Rapids Middle School social worker, Robin Burge-Ross greets a family struggling with food. "So we have fresh produce today and frozen meat," said Burge-Ross. Bags of both perishable and non-perishable food is loaded, contact-free into the vehicle. The Falcon Nest food distribution runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and often times cars line up before noon.
"Families sign up on line prior to the pickup date so when a family comes we ask them to provide us with their student’s last name," Burge-Ross explained.
Seventy families signed up for the July food distribution. The Falcon Nest sees anywhere from 50 to 100 families contact them for help with food. Organizers of the food shelf operation decided to extend the distribution throughout the summer, due to the hardships created by the pandemic.
"We ordered a bunch of fresh produce like peppers and limes and apples and oranges," said volunteer, Jill Discher, who is with Constance Free Church in Andover. For the past decade, the church has donated regularly to the Falcon Nest food shelf.
"About once every month we take an offering and that offering goes to pay for this and so I think we’ve, (Constance Free Church), done about 20,000 dollars a year," Discher said. Every family gets fresh produce and a meat option, courtesy of the church.
A small group of dedicated school staff at Coon Rapids Middle School have volunteered their time to run the food shelf operation, without so much as a budget. They rely solely on the generosity of both individual donors and Constance Church.
"Part of our mission here is to support our families appropriately," said Burge-Ross.
In the boxes of food each family receives from Falcon Nest, they also get a bottle of water which comes with a message of hope. Lead volunteer, Lisa Tauer read the label.
"Please enjoy this water bottle and food from Constance Free Church,” said Tauer. “We hope this is a reminder that God is always with you."
Next month, another food distribution will take place at the Falcon Nest. If you’d like to help out... donations are being accepted. Call Coon Rapids Middle School main phone line at 763-506-4800 for more information.