Local food shelf gets large pork donation

Food shelf volunteers the Rev. James Leonard and Sharon Jahn receive a donation of ground pork from Jay Dolman, right. The pork was given to the food shelf by Kevin and Mary Hugeson, of Grenada, Minnesota. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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Donations — meating the Spring Valley Food Shelf’s needs. 

“It’s 160 pounds of ground pork,” said Jay Dolman, heaving a cooler onto the food shelf’s front step last Tuesday afternoon as he made a delivery of much-welcomed meat donated by Kevin and Mary Hugoson, of Grenada, Minnesota.

Dolman had traveled from Grenada to bring the pork to the food shelf because the Hugosons, who have ties to a Spring Valley hog operation, felt that they had food to spare and ought to share with Spring Valley area residents who are clients of the food shelf.  Dolman explained that he works for Next Generation Pork, Bob and Kathy Baarsch’s local operation. Also, Hugoson Pork, a well-known pork producer, had purchased the Deer Creek barn site from Next Generation Pork, which now provides management services, several years ago.

Food shelf volunteer Rita Hartert related that the donation was planned about a month ago but arrived just in time this month.  At that time, the delivery date was uncertain, as it depended on processing of the pork and the delivery, she explained. 

“This donation will allow our clients to receive more meat each month.  As a general rule, the are able to take about a pound or two a month, depending on our supply,” said Hartert. “We receive meat donations several times a year, and it is always appreciated.”

Other donations the food shelf received included one from the Kingsland Key Club, which collected funds, and another from the Kingsland National Honor Society, which held its own food collection, to assist the food shelf’s volunteers in stocking the pantry that serves residents whose income doesn’t quite stretch from one month to the next.  For that, Hartert and the rest of the volunteers are grateful. 

“While we all enjoy eating, we especially want the children in our community to have enough food,” said Hartert. “We would like others to know that families may always feel free to sign up to receive food monthly if there is a need.  No questions asked, and all are treated with respect and dignity.”   

Hartert and fellow volunteer Sharon Jahn listed that the food shelf often has shifting needs, depending on the season. Right now, one of the greatest challenges is getting soups and canned fruit and vegetables.  The local food shelf buys foods from Channel One in Rochester, which has been short of these items for quite some time.  The women said the food shelf could use creamed soups, such as mushroom and chicken and chicken noodle soup.  It could also use canned fruits and vegetables, and it can always use dry cereal, which kids like. 

“We received garden produce all season, and we recently received quite a bit of squash, which is great because it keeps.  Our staples are flour, sugar and baking supplies, especially during the holiday season,” said Hartert.

Jahn added, “We go through a lot of macaroni and cheese, and it’d be nice to have a few different kinds of boxed cereals if people buy what’s on sale, because we only have two kinds.  The soup starters in bags — Bear Creek soups — go well for a family because all they have to do is add water, and that stretches things for families that have a lot of little mouths to feed.  We’re always out of juice, any type of juice.  That’s something we don’t get very often from Channel One, and if we do, it’s not that much.” 

Household and personal care items are also welcome at the food shelf, as being able to offer these things to clients helps ease the burden of paying for them at the store.  Hartert added that toilet tissue and paper towels are always nice to have on hand while Jahn remarked that items such as diapers are usually in great demand but in a shortage as well. 

The food shelf accepts donations of laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, body soap bars, diapers, women’s hygiene items, toothpaste and more, said Jahn, noting “if it helps someone feel ready to face the day, it’s worth asking if it can be given away. 

Hartert commented that clothing items for small people are handy, too. As a rule, the food shelf does not accept clothing, as it doesn’t have room, she noted, but the staff certainly would be glad to have winter clothing for children of all ages, including snow boots, snow pants, caps, jackets, mittens and gloves.

The Spring Valley Food Shelf, on the south side of East Jefferson Street, just across from Scott’s Auto Works, is open Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m.