The Two Harbors Area Food Shelf is making a move to end hunger. The nonprofit is slated to move from its longtime home in the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency office building at 2124 10th St. downtown to a building at 517 First Ave.
The design plans for the new space were presented at a community conversation event at the Two Harbors Community Center on Wednesday, April 3.
"We've outgrown that space," Executive Director Michelle Miller said. "Eleven years ago, we moved into that space with AEOA, which was meant to specifically house the food shelf, but we've grown big enough to need more room."
The food shelf, which was renting a 1,100-square-foot space, will transition to a 2,200-square-foot space. The space will also be specifically designed to work for the food shelf because it's currently a "blank canvas."
"It's a unique situation as the owner, Dale Moe, has been using it as winter storage," Miller said. "There are no existing walls. It's both exciting and a bit overwhelming. We'll be able to make this into a fully operational facility."
The new facility will have a larger shopping area, room for the existing walk-in freezer, offices in the back and a volunteer lounge.
Miller said the new facility will be better equipped to handle large produce deliveries.
"Right now, it takes 20 volunteer hours to unload, move and distribute the fresh produce," Miller said. "With this planned new setup and space, we're hoping to cut that in half."
Miller said the nonprofit also plans to work with SuperShelf, a Minnesota-based organization that transforms food shelves to make them a more dignified, functional and welcoming space.
Miller said the shelf will acquire the building, which has a rent-to-own lease, on May 1, and hopes the build-out phase will begin within a few months, depending on funding.
The build-out process is expected to last six to eight months. Then will come the move, which will take about a month. Regular distribution will continue at that time.
The project, which is funded separately from the food shelf operation funds, has $21,000 in funding via grants from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and the Two Harbors Area Community Foundation Grant.
"But that's about half of what I applied for," Miller said. "We're grateful for the support, but we do need more backing to make this a fully realized reality."
The food shelf is asking for financial donations, as well as for items on a wish list to fully kit out the new space. As always volunteers are needed throughout the entire process as well. The shelf has T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale that advertise the "Moving for Hunger" campaign.
For more information or to volunteer, contact the food shelf at 218-391-8191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.