Fare For All: providing affordable groceries

Dan Newes, a 28-year North Branch resident, has been volunteering with Fare For All since it moved to Trinity Church about a year ago.  Photo by Derrick Knutson

Dan Newes, a 28-year North Branch resident, has been volunteering with Fare For All since it moved to Trinity Church about a year ago.
Photo by Derrick Knutson

Eating right – which requires a good balance of protein, fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates – might fill one’s stomach, but it can also drain a person’s wallet, especially when they’re on a tight budget.

Sophia Lenarz-Coy, program manager for the Emergency Foodshelf Network, said there is a program in the North Branch area that can help people purchase quality food at a low price.

Fare For All Express, which has been operating out of Trinity Lutheran Church in North Branch for about the past year and at other locations in town five years before that, is a once-a-month program that offers groceries for about 40 percent cheaper than people can find at big box stores.

She noted the program, which runs 2-4 p.m. on specific Wednesdays at Trinity, can be utilized by everyone, not just those struggling to put food on the table.

“The more people who come to Fare For All, the better — we’re all about bulk buying,” she said about the nonprofit. “As our numbers in the program grow, the deals we can negotiate at the wholesale level get better. Most people who come to Fare For All don’t use a food shelf or wouldn’t consider themselves in need to that extent, but at the same point, if you talk to them about their grocery budget, they’re not buying everything they’d want to be buying.”

Lenarz-Coy noted Fare For All does not offer donated items; they work with the same wholesalers as grocery stores.

Holiday packs

Lenarz-Coy said Fare For All is trying to get the word out about its holiday packs, which are available for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For $30, customers get a turkey and fixings for a Thanksgiving meal, and for the same amount before Christmas, they get a ham and side dishes.

“This is coming up into our busiest time of year,” Lenarz-Coy said. “October starts getting busier. November and December are usually very busy months for us because of the holiday packs.”

Preorder, prepay

For those who can’t make the two-hour window in North Branch, there are other Fare For All Express sites — such as in Forest Lake, 4-6 p.m. also on Wednesdays — or customers can use the preorder, prepay option.

To learn more about the preorder, prepay option, Lenarz Coy said to call the Fare For All Office at 763-450-3880.

To find Fare For All Express sites and times, visit www.emergencyfoodshelf.org and click on the Fare For All link under the “EFN’s Programs” tab.

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