Food surplus from canceled school hot lunch programs leads to discount for area food shelf

On a Sunday morning not long ago, our minister asked what gifts our church family can share with others. For many years Patti and I have volunteered at Bemidji Community Food Shelf (BCFS). A gift I share with others: Thanks to my thirty years’ experience in the meat industry, I often help make meat purchases. This past week, Mary, BCFS Director, asked if I could find turkeys for Thanksgiving—200 cases. I made a few calls and learned that because of the Covid situation turkeys are in short supply and very expensive; wholesale cost $1.59 lb., which is way beyond our limited budget.

Going down my list of contacts, I called a company that I began doing business with almost forty years ago. The sales representative offered me an incredible deal: 203 cases of turkey breasts at .69 lb., a total savings of $6,243. They had been ordered for school lunches but because of Covid restrictions, the schools decided not to do hot lunches and the meat company had to sell the turkeys. This purchase is a great blessing for those in Bemidji area who shop the Food Shelf. Luekens Village Foods has offered to store the turkeys for us, another huge blessing because we don’t have the room in the Food Shelf freezers.

It’s hard to believe that we are already shopping for the holiday food supply. Because of Covid and increased unemployment, Bemidji Community Food Shelf has been very busy this past nine months and our funds are stretched. We now have turkey for our customers, but could use help with holiday foods such as stuffing, pie filling, yams, etc. And Christmas ham purchases will soon be here.

Food insecurity is a major issue in our community. A gift that you might share will brighten many holiday dinner tables.

Thank you, Wendell Affield


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