United Way Saint Croix Valley is launching a new program to fight hunger in Polk county, said Ann Searles, Executive Director. United Way Saint Croix Valley will partner with the Farm Table Foundation of Amery to distribute fresh produce and other nutritious food out of the existing warehouse location for the Hungry Turtle Farmers Co-op. During the growing season, they will purchase fresh produce from local farms, and will also receive deliveries from The Food Group, a nonprofit food bank located in Minnesota, to help supplement the food year-round. Beginning in June, they plan to distribute milk, meat, and other healthy food to the seven food pantries and homeless shelters serving Polk county.
Another part of the program will include cooking classes that will help people learn how to prepare and cook meals with fresh, local produce. Food pantry staff and volunteers told Searles that clients sometimes don’t know how to cook with the fresh produce that is offered at the pantry. Working with Farm Table Foundation, United Way Saint Croix Valley will sponsor classes for food pantry volunteers and staff so they can learn recipes and preparation tips that will help them distribute more of these healthy foods.