12/16/2013 10:57:00 AM Food shelf steady; more always needed
By David Richards
For years, the Byron food shelf, located in the Byron Community Education Center at 630 First Ave. NW, has provided food for area families in need.
A satellite office of the main Rochester location, the food shelf serves as a supplemental source of food for families to combine with other programs, such as food stamps.
"We've seen our numbers growing," said Ursula Olson, client services project manager for Channel One Inc, which runs the food shelves in Olmsted County.
Olson said Channel One, Inc. served 3,600 families just last month alone, and signed up three new families just recently for Byron.
Those interested can fill out applications in Byron during operating hours on both the second Tuesday of the month and the last Tuesday of the month. For up to date seasonal hours, shelf volunteers and staff can be reached at (507) 287-2350.
Families who meet United States Department of Agriculture guidelines are eligible to visit the food shelf once a month, and Olson said families leave with at least five days worth of food and sometimes more.
"If they are frugal and do their own cooking, it can last longer," Olson said.
The Byron food shelf is stocked from a portion of the donations that are given to Channel One, Inc., donations from Byron organizations and community members in addition to USDA surplus products.
Olson said while the Byron location is maintaining an adequate supply, more is always needed, especially protein, such as peanut butter, tuna and canned meat.
"Protein is very expensive for our clients," Olson said. "If our client has a choice to buy hamburger or buy macaroni and cheese, they choose macaroni and cheese because it's cheaper, but still filling," Olson said.
In addition to Olson, the local food shelf is also staffed by volunteers, such as church members and The Byron Women of Today.
To donate, call the food shelf directly or stop by during office hours.
Olson said the Byron community has always been strong when it comes to donations.