Over the past year, an exciting evolution has been taking place with 360 Communities’ network of five food shelves. This summer we introduced Healthy Food Guidelines, prioritizing the purchase of healthy food for our food shelf customers.

“The most costly items in grocery store are the best for you – things like lean protein, dairy, and produce,” says Director of Self-Sufficiency Anika Rychner, “The reality is our families are forced to stretch dollars, choosing to purchase cheaper, processed food items which are filling, but are not necessarily healthy. If we can procure those healthy items, then we’ve provided a much better choice for our families.”

With the help of the Food Group, the University of Minnesota, and Allina Health, 360 Communities recently transformed its Burnsville Food Shelf to showcase its healthy food options for customers. Volunteers and staff rearranged the inventory, painted shelving, and added new signage to highlight the healthy choices available at the food shelf. 360 Communities has forged new rescue food partnerships to collect and provide more healthy options. 

The costs of the new signs and displays were covered by a grant from Allina Health. 360 Communities is also a part of a University of Minnesota pilot study to track the amount and kinds of healthy food we distribute. All of this is designed to provide our customers the most welcoming and dignified experience when they come here for help, while providing the healthy food choices our customers have told us they desire.

We still need non-perishable donations for our food shelves. We have a simplified 5 Most Wanted Food Donations list that includes canned fish & meat, cooking & baking items, peanut butter, canned fruit & vegetables, and rice & pasta. Download a flyer and find out more about our healthy food initiative.

If you would like to support 360 Communities’ self-sufficiency work, you can donate here.