Our Goals: We serve our St. Croix Valley neighbors by providing food, clothing, emergency financial assistance, providing education and support services, while respecting individual dignity and offering encouragement and hope.
Geographic Area & Community Served
The St. Croix Valley doesn’t exactly top the list
when we discuss poverty. Many of us think of more vivid examples reflected over
the years - rural, Appalachian communities or urban, crowded, metropolitan
areas. However, in our community, we have a story of suburban poverty. The
dynamics of “place” and the issues that affect families and individual are
different here than in our sister communities in greater Minnesota or directly
within the boundaries of the Twin Cities.
The New York Times stated (May 2014)
that in the “...five decades since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war
on poverty, the nation’s poor are more likely to be found in suburbs…and
poverty is suburbs is rising faster than in any other setting in the country.
By 2011, there were 3 million more people living in poverty in suburbs than in
“Last night, we helped with a client’s critical need in the
form of an interview outfit.
Today she is interviewing for a case
management position, and
our volunteers helped her pick
out a very stylish and professional outfit.
While she was checking out, she
shared how excited
she now felt for her interview and how grateful she is for
the Clothing Closet.
To quote, 'I keep wanting to write you all a letter about
how helpful this has been
for me to get started in a new career.' It was so
great to see the confidence
and positivity she left with that evening.”
- Valley Outreach Staff
Valley Outreach has been feeding our neighbors in need since
1983. The Valley Outreach Food Shelf offers a choice model where clients shop
for their specific needs, honoring individual, family and cultural preferences
while offering fresh produce and a variety of healthier food options. The Food
Shelf provides non-perishable items (canned and boxed foods) in addition to
fresh produce, deli items, milk, eggs, margarine, frozen meats and other
perishable products as available.
There are four food outreach programs offered through our
Bonus Fridays is an
opportunity for clients to receive additional perishable food items (such as fresh
produce, deli items, and bread) to help stretch food resources and provide
ongoing access to fresh foods. It is
open to clients of Valley Outreach and others who find themselves in need of
emergency food assistance.
week, approximately 75 households are served by the Bonus Friday fresh food
Snack Pack is a program
available to families with elementary school age children who can sign up to
receive weekend packs of kid-friendly meal and snack items. This program helps
to alleviate hunger over the weekend, when free and reduced school lunches are
its pilot year, approximately 120 elementary age students in three different
schools received critical weekend snacks and meals as part of the Snack Pack
program. The program is expanding to all
elementary schools for the 2014-15 school year.
Mobile Choice is a home-delivery
program offered to clients with limited mobility due to age, health and/or
disability. Clients place an order
indicating their food preferences which is then packed and delivered to their
home by trained volunteers.
Mobile Choice program is in its pilot year, serving an average of 12 households
Nutrition Assistance Program for
Seniors (NAPS) is a USDA commodities food program for low-income
seniors offered in partnership with Second Harvest Heartland and Trinity
Lutheran Church in Stillwater. Each
month, eligible seniors receive a box of healthy, non-perishable food items,
and Valley Outreach provides a supplemental bag of assorted fresh fruits and
60 senior households receive supplemental healthy food from the NAPS program
Through our various food shelf programs, we distribute approximately 575,000 meals
During the last fiscal year, there were 8,401 visits to the Valley Outreach Food Shelf programs, through
which 749,068 pounds of food were
distributed to 1,351 unique households, reaching 3,683 unique
Of those served:
households used the program for the first time ever
62% of households used the food shelf because
their income is limited or inadequate (reflective of high housing, medical etc.
costs and/or inadequate/not-livable wages)
20% used the food shelf because of a job loss
10% needed the food shelf because of a medical reason or illness
7% of households served last year had no permanent shelter (classified as homeless)
"My husband had a stroke back in June. He has not
worked since then.
I was told about your snack pack through Afton-Lakeland
We have now received the pack four times. My son just loves Fridays
coming home to look at the treats just for him.
Thank you so very, very much!!"
- Valley Outreach Client
Dawn Beedle was the visionary behind Dawn’s Closet, now
known as the Clothing Closet. The Clothing Closet provides men’s, women’s and
children’s clothing, including socks and underwear. The selection of clothing
available for all ages gives clients an opportunity to ensure growing children
have clothes that fit, adults can dress confidently for the workplace, all
individuals are warm and comfortable in the winter months, and that all have
access to the basic clothing needs of socks and underwear.
We provide clothing to
an average of 110 families each month.
During the last fiscal
year, there were 1,305 visits to the Valley Outreach Clothing Closet and 38,099 items of clothing were distributed to
clients in need.
The Valley Outreach Emergency Fund offers financial
assistance to individuals and families in crisis. We support those facing
financial adversity by providing funds for rental and mortgage expenses, heat
and utility services, car repair that maintains transportation to work and critical
healthcare needs such as prescription medications.
In the past year, we have distributed approximately $75,000 in
financial assistance to 300 households (721 individuals) through the Emergency
Assisting our clients as they navigate through difficult,
and often unexpected, life situations is a goal of Valley Outreach. When a
client’s needs go beyond the core programs offered at Valley Outreach, we work
with them to bridge the gap by making connections to additional resources and
organizations. This can include where and how to obtain medical aid, additional
food support, find affordable housing and link to job and skill-building
programs. We do this to move people towards a higher level of self-sufficiency.
In the last year, we served 979 unique households through Resource
Advising, representing 2643 unique individuals who have been positively
impacted by this program.
Volunteers are a vital part of Valley Outreach and play a
significant role in helping individuals and families through a difficult time
in their life. Every week, our dedicated team of volunteers donates hours
of their time as they assist in the operation of our programs. Valley
Outreach has many volunteer opportunities in our Food Shelf, Clothing Closet,
and administrative offices for both groups and individuals.
Last year, 1,320 unique volunteers contributed 25,000 hours
to Valley Outreach, an increase of 15% from the previous year. That is
the equivalent to more than 12 Staff Full Time Equivalents (FTEs)!
"I wanted to thank you for your wonderful
help in finding a coat and shoes for a child
at our school. This will make a
child very happy today.
So again, thank you for your time and effort with this!"
- Elementary School Staff Member