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Today’s Harvest Begins Construction

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Open Cupboard is a new on-site partner organization that provides fresh, healthy food through a free food market called Today’s Harvest. Open Cupboard began operating in 1983, and since then it has become the most-visited food shelf in Minnesota. Last winter, we cleared out the north end of our building to make room for Today’s Harvest, and now construction on their space has begun!

Jessica Francis, Executive Director of Open Cupboard, shared about their work at our recent Covenant Partner Gathering.

When the pandemic hit, food distribution and people’s needs began to change. Jessica says, “People needed food and they needed it in a low barrier way so we created this program called ‘Today’s Harvest.’ This isn’t a food shelf, it’s a free food market, where we take fresh food that we rescue every day from grocery stores and make it available to the community in a simple and easy way.”

“Rescue food” is food that still has a few days of good life left in it, but that grocery stores are taking off the shelf. Open Cupboard truck drivers pick up and deliver the food to Today’s Harvest, where volunteers stock it on the shelves. On that very same day, it gets into the homes of people in need.

Open Cupboard came to Woodland after outgrowing their last location. They had secured a different place, but the arrangement fell apart at the last minute, which was a major setback. Jessica says, “Even in that really disappointing and devastating period of time where that deal fell through we had faith, I knew something better was going to come along and it absolutely did and we’re just thrilled by the end result.”

Today’s Harvest will be open six days a week, and expects to serve around 700 families a day.

This partnership complements the work of The Corner Shelf, our Woodland Hills food shelf that operates two days a week and provides both shelf-stable food and fresh produce. The number of clients using The Corner Shelf has grown to the point where some families have been turned away. Janice Rohling, our Executive Pastor, says, “No one wants to turn a car away. So now we can say, ‘Just drive down the parking lot here,’ and they can get food immediately and feed their family that night.”

The goal is for Today’s Harvest to open in August, and we can’t wait! If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Open Cupboard here.

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