Food pantry looks toward Main Street, improved efficiencyAfter looking for years and preparing for months, the River Falls Community Food Pantry soon moves out of Ezekiel Lutheran Church and into the downtown space at 222 N. Main St., behind Bo Jon’s Flowers.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
After looking for years and preparing for months, the River Falls Community Food Pantry soon moves out of Ezekiel Lutheran Church and into the downtown space at 222 N. Main St., behind Bo Jon’s Flowers.
“We’re actually within three weeks,” said food pantry Director Janna Carl, of the upcoming move.
She said the lease was signed in mid-July. Since then work has gone on to prepare the new space. Carl said many people have donated time or materials.
She’s seen some contractors work 12 hours at their job, then come to the new food-pantry space and work for several more hours. The project has included erecting new walls, updating the electrical work, removing carpet glue and other tasks.
The old lights have been replaced with new high-efficiency lighting that will reduce utility bills. She says soon comes the work of taping, mudding, painting and sealing the floors.
The move enables the food pantry to gain storage space, a bigger client waiting area, and a street-level location for unloading delivery trucks and serving the hungry. The new space also has more off-street parking and better accessibility.
“In the new location, we will have a small office,” says Carl.
She says the only things left on the wish list are a floor scale and a computer.
In changing locations, the food pantry also makes a jump from a free/donated space inside Ezekiel to one for which it will pay $2,050 a month in rent. Carl says food pantry organizers researched many locations, and the option they chose has the best layout, needs the fewest modifications and is the least expensive.
The food pantry will double its space by occupying 2,000-square feet in the building.
Carl said demand on the food pantry has grown steadily and that more space is badly needed for storage, shopping and operations. She said the group is profoundly grateful to Ezekiel Church for the space it gave for many years.
However, RFCFP has grown to the point that inventory spills into classrooms and common areas, and deliveries sometimes conflict with preschool operations.
“A lot of people still don’t understand the reasons we’re moving,” Carl said. “Our big issue is the storage.”
She’s excited about what may be the food pantry’s best new addition: A donated conveyor worth $2,000-$3,000 dollars. It will roll food from the truck into storage.
The new location will not change food pantry operations. It is open to residents within the River Falls School District who bring a driver’s license or photo identification plus a utility/cable/phone bill to demonstrate recent residency.
Food pantry hours will remain the same: 10 a.m. to noon and 6:30-8 p.m. Mondays; 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays; 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays; and 10 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday.
Get more details on this story in the Sept. 2 print edition of the River Falls Journal.