A federal mobile food shelf program will be stopping in Detroit Lakes for the first time Monday.

The Farmers to Families Food Box program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be holding a mobile food shelf event in the parking lot of the Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store on Highway 10 on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. The waiting line will start at 4 p.m.

The event is open to the public and does not require any income verification to receive a donation box, said Misti Rose, volunteer and project coordinator.

"It's such a beautiful program," said Rose, "and, it helps families."

One donation box will be available each household and will continue until the donations are exhausted. The food boxes contents vary, but usually include: a meat, dairy, assorted produce and milk.

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Farmers to Families Food Box program infographic (USDA)
Farmers to Families Food Box program infographic (USDA)

This event will be the first time the program has come to Detroit Lakes, Rose said, and, if all goes well, the group plans on coming back in March and April. Previously, the distribution sites were held in more rural areas without access to community food banks.

The Farmers to Families Food Box program began as part of the federal government's Coronavirus Food Assistance program, which was announced in April 2020. USDA began purchasing $6 billion of food products from national, regional and local distributors, and sorted the food into family-size boxes.

Since April 2020, the program has distributed more than 130 million food boxes to households around the country and is slated to distribute another 3.6 million boxes in it fifth round of donations, which runs through the end of April.

Additional funding for the program was secured in the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by congress in Dec., and will ensure the program continues into 2021.

The group would like to thank Stenerson Lumber, Caribou Coffee and L and M Fleet Supply for donating equipment, volunteers and supplies for the event. If anyone wants to volunteer for the event, contact Misti Rose at 612-290-7539 for details.