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Salvation Army food shelf open but thrift stores closed for now


March 27, 2020

Jana Peterson

Boxes of produce were ready to go at the Salvation Army food shelf earlier this week. It is open on Tuesdays 8:30-11:20 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. with drive-through service for now.

While the Salvation Army has temporarily closed its thrift store in Cloquet, the food shelf is still very much open and available to those in need.

On Monday, the storage room was piled high with produce and other items, and volunteers were busy filling boxes with a range of food that would be handed out to people the next day. There was fresh produce, cereal, paper goods (although not much toilet paper), pasta, canned food and more.

Joanne Lee, service extension director for the Salvation Army Northern Division, said the food shelf is open on Tuesdays 8:30-11:20 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. It's a drive-through service for now, and people can just pull up in a vehicle and get a box of food, plus meat and bakery products if they're available.

"We will just come to your car and ask how many children, adults and people 65 and older you have in your household," she said. "Most of the people who come have been here before, but we're not going to turn anyone away.

For many, it is a relief to know the Salvation Army is still serving people in the Carlton County area, as Salvation Army case manager David Westerberg left for another job on March 13.

Lee said she has been coming up from Roseville to help out, and the charitable organization is providing services other than the food shelf via telephone.

"We are trying to continue to provide the services we have," she said, referring to programs such as rental assistance, energy and utility bill assistance, and more.

Call 651-746-3407 to find out more about the Salvation Army's programs.

Donations to the food shelf are also appreciated, she said. Cash donations are very helpful, because the food shelf can make a dollar go a lot further. They also need paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels.

The thrift store is closed to customers for now. This effort follows other steps taken previously that suspended group gatherings at their service centers in Minnesota and North Dakota, in order to prevent possible coronavirus transmission. Employees in Cloquet are still working to sort donations, which are still being accepted when staff are available.

"We're taking these steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our clients, many of whom we consider to be particularly vulnerable," said Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division, in a press release issued March 23. "At the same time, programs centered on food distribution, housing and emergency assistance will continue to provide help to those most in need."


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