Christian Cupboard Community Food Shelf breaks ground on new building in Oakdale


The new building for the Christian Cupboard Community Food Shelf will be located on the property of Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 8260 4th St. N., Oakdale. submitted rendering

Christian Cupboard Community Food Shelf held a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 6. A larger celebration will be held under the new roof in November. Aundrea Kinney/Review

Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf will soon be hopping from Woodbury to Oakdale. 

The food shelf — which serves residents of Oakdale, Woodbury, Landfall and the southern leg of Maplewood — held a small groundbreaking ceremony for its new building Sept. 6. 

Christian Cupboard, currently located in the lower level of Woodbury Lutheran Church, will be moving into its own, new building on the property of Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale, once construction is complete.

The move to its new address, at 8260 4th St. N., Oakdale, is only about 10 minutes away from its current home, at 7380 Afton Road, Woodbury.

Greig Metzger, executive director of CCEFS, said that about 15,000 people in the food shelf’s service area could use some form of food support, but only about a third of them are currently being served by CCEFS. That’s because there just isn’t enough space at their current location to meet the demand, he explained. 

“To be able to better connect and reach those folks with different programs or expanded hours or expanded choice, we need more space to be able to do those kinds of things,” Metzger said.

The new building will be a handicapped accessible 6,000 square feet and will include more refrigerators and freezers, which will help the food shelf provide more fruit, vegetable and meat offerings. Also, all of the refrigerators, freezers and shelving units will be set on wheels, so volunteers can reconfigure the space as needed for special occasions such as produce fairs and the annual Thanksgiving event.

“I think one of the things that’s unique a little bit about our approach is providing the flexibility to be able to use the space in a variety of different ways,” Metzger said.

The new building, which is expected to be completed in January 2018, will allow the CCEFS to expand the hours and days it is open, as well as lower the cost of food through bulk purchases and allow the flexibility to try new programs and events.

The $800,000 building is being funded by donations from various foundations, churches, local businesses and individuals. Guardian Angels Catholic Church is renting the land to CCEFS for $1 per year on a 40 year lease.

 

A partnership with Guardian Angels Catholic Church

Guardian Angels Parish Administrator Denny Farrell said that two years ago, when the directors of CCEFS asked community partners to help look for a new building, Guardian Angels Catholic Church was happy to participate.

“It really is what Guardian Angels is all about — we are an outreach parish,” Farrell said.

He explained that the food shelf is a logical addition to the church property, which already houses a homeless facility and one of the largest food shelf gardens in the Twin Cities. 

Half of the produce that grows in the church garden already goes to CCEFS, so having the food shelf on site makes it easier on volunteers and helps the produce get into people’s kitchens that much quicker. 

According to Farrell, the garden produces between 15,000 and 16,000 pounds of food per year. He also noted that many of the volunteers live at Oak Meadows Senior Living, which neighbors the church, and residents have already expressed a great interest in volunteering for the food shelf as well.

While the building’s construction is just beginning, the Guardian Angels property was under construction for three months last year in preparation.

“Last year we brought all the utilities in. We had to bring them all the way from Best Buy to get them over there,” Farrell said, noting the neighboring store is several hundred feet away.

Farrell also said that to help alleviate parking congestion, he is working with Metro Transit to move its 14 reserved parking spots to the east of its current location in front of the food shelf.  Twelve spots will be set aside for the food shelf right in front of the new building; two are handicapped spots.

 

EVERYONE'S FOOD SHELF - Christian Cupboard Community Food Shelf was founded by seven churches in 1983, an effort spearheaded by the late Dick and Sharon Wolff. Founding churches include Guardian Angels Catholic Church, Christ Episcopal Church, King of Kings Lutheran Church, Woodbury Baptist Church, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Woodbury United Methodist Church and Woodbury Lutheran Church.

Greig Metzger, executive director of CCEFS , explained that although the food shelf’s name reflects its Christian founding, the food shelf does not discriminate against anybody or proselytize any religion.

“We serve anybody who shows up at our door,” he added.

For information about food assistance, volunteering or donating toward the new building, visit www.ccefs.org, or visit its current location at 7380 Afton Road, Woodbury.

 

Upcoming events

Lisa Engh, president of the CCEFS board of directors, noted that although the groundbreaking event was small, the board of directors wants everyone to have a chance to celebrate the new building. 

She said a bigger celebration will be held in November, when the roof is on the building. Engh added that at that time guests can come out to see the building and even sign part of it.

“We really want everyone to be a part of this,” she said.

CCEFS will also be holding a community breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. Sept. 21 to help raise money for the new building. Special guest, former Minnesota Viking and Super Bowl center Matt Birk will share his experiences about teamwork, community and making an impact for change. 

The cost is $35 per person, and the event will be held at Envision Event Center, 484 Inwood Ave. N., Oakdale. To purchase tickets, visit www.ccefs.org/breakfast.

 

Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com


 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here