Faith in Action for Feb. 1
The First Lutheran Junior High Youth Group got a tour of the Lyon County Food Shelf on Dec. 12. This was an eye-opening trip for many as the stats were staggering and the shelves were limited. In 2017, 4,245 households were served totaling 11,692 individuals; 4,413 of which were children. The number of individuals in your household determine how many items you get to take from each section of the small grocery store inside the Food Shelf. 422,014 pounds of food was distributed to the families and 311 new families were served in 2017. Each family is asked to come only once a month, unless they are desperate. Thirty-eight homeless families were served in 2017. Yes, Lyon County has homeless people! Some of the homeless families are just passing through, others have lost housing due to terminated jobs and sad situations.
The Lyon County Food Shelf is a friendly place. Many retirees and dedicated volunteers work diligently to help people in need. In addition to food, the workers find them clothing if necessary, connect them with support services, offer financial advice and even give hand out simple recipes. Volunteers logged 10,603 hours in 2017. One of First Lutheran’s Junior High leaders, Bryce Paulsen, a senior at Marshall High School, has volunteered at the food shelf for the past two years. Bryce has picked up food and washed a lot of eggs, he says. The First Lutheran Youth folded plastic bags when they were there. This may sound odd, but those plastic bags you get from the stores are used at the Food Shelf to hand out vegetables, fruit and send home necessary food and supplies. People donate them all swished up in a ball of bags. Volunteers flatten these and pack them in boxes to save space and prepare them for reuse. To make this mundane task fun, the volunteers see who can find the largest receipt total and keep their eye out for cash that is sometimes hidden inside.
In addition to giving out food, the Food Shelf is in the business of rescuing food. In 2017, the Lyon County Food Shelf rescued 336,254 pounds of food from local markets. Dented cans, items that sell by date has or is about to expire, and other items that would have been throw away because of market standards are able to be rescued and donated to those in need. By no means are these items no good. The box might have been damaged in shipping or someone returned something that could not be put back on the shelf. Just because there is a date on an item, doesn’t mean it is no good after that date. The USDA has a listing of how long food is actually good depending on the packaging and content.
Please remember those in need, when you have extra. Most of the families that use the food shelf are working families that need it to get by when finances are tight or an unexpected large expense comes up. Food and volunteers are always welcome at the Lyon County Food Shelf.
Be thankful for all you have.