At the Becker County Food Pantry's "free-food giveaway" on Monday, June 22, Brad Carlson, the pantry's executive director, said that "we served 215 families."
Carlson was at the pantry at 7:30 a.m. Monday preparing for the distribution. Within half an hour of Carlson being there, at 8 a.m., he said he noticed that cars were starting to line up. The distribution didn't start until 10 a.m.
The early lines were expected, "unfortunately," Carlson said. Two weeks ago the pantry distributed a 30-pound bag of produce and had a similar situation. This time, the pantry was giving out "grapefruit juice, walnuts, trail mix ... eggs, cheese, bread and a mystery can" of vegetables were in one of the bags, plus another 10-pound box with "bacon, chicken sausage and chicken hot dogs," he said.
"This is part of CFAP, the Coronavirus Federal Assistance Program," Carlson said, explaining how the food pantry is able to give away the groceries for free. "The government has allotted $11 billion a month for the next seven months to buy up the stuff and distribute it. It's (distributions) supposed to happen once a month."
Through the program, Carlson said the box of meat was purchased for $2 each. Everything else that was in the other bag was bought for 8 cents per pound.
"We don't always have a say on what we get," he said.
The pantry and its almost 20 volunteers had a smooth system to distribute the boxes, having cars first enter the lot and show a volunteer a piece of mail that certified that they lived in Becker County. Vehicles then parked next to the fairgrounds, one by one moving in a line up through that parking lot and toward the pantry doors. Volunteers at the doors loaded the bag of groceries into vehicles there, then motioned them a few feet forward for the next stop for the box of meat.
Before 11 a.m., the whole line had been served and sent on their way. Vehicles were still served the groceries until 1 p.m., when the distribution ended.
The Becker County Food Pantry, 1308 Rossman Ave/, is open noon-3 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Call 218-846-0142 or visit Facebook @Becker-County-Food-Pantry.