Valley Outreach Annual Report FY2014-2015
Top Three of 2014-2015
1. In May 2015, Valley Outreach purchased the building in which we have operated since 2007. This allows us to ensure we have adequate space to serve our clients and to expand programming into the future. We will continue to strengthen our services offered to those in need, thanks in part to the stability of owning our own building.
2. We saw an increased need for food in our community, and we were there to serve those who needed it. With the distribution of 805,009 pounds of food, the equivalent of 620,000 meals, we provided 8% more food over the last year. Our food program pursued outreach to specific communities as well, including seniors and elementary school children.
3. fill (y)our closet: a pop-up sale with a purpose was born! This twice a year pop-up clothing sale allows us to sell items that are vintage, over stock, or out of season (while saving all items donated that are needed by our clients). With the funds raised, we purchase new socks and underwear for clients using the clothing closet.
Valley Outreach is a bridge between the crisis of the moment and the solution
of the future. We help our St. Croix Valley neighbors in need of
food, clothing, emergency financial assistance and other support while
respecting their individual dignity and offering them encouragement and hope.
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 inner cities.”
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.
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.
Each week, approximately 78 households
received an average of 19 pounds of food per person by the Bonus Friday fresh
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 not available.
Approximately 181 elementary age students in 7 different schools received critical weekend snacks and meals as part of the
Snack Pack program. We distributed 5,683 snack packs!
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.
The Mobile Choice program serves an average of 20 individuals a month. Last year we had 144 deliveries!
Through our various food shelf programs, we
distribute approximately 620,000 meals each year.
the last fiscal year, there were 9,128 visits to the Valley
Outreach Food Shelf programs, through which 805,009 pounds of food were
distributed to 1,414 unique households, reaching 3,469
unique individuals. That’s an 8% increase in pounds and visits from
Of those served:
of households used the program for the first time ever
of households came 12 times or more last year (monthly)
increase in seniors served from the last year
homeless households comprised of 244 individuals served
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 106
families each month.
During the last fiscal year, there were 1,267
visits to the Valley Outreach Clothing Closet and 45,941 items of clothing were
distributed to clients in need. That’s a 21% increase in clothes
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 $50,247 in financial assistance to 207 households (591
individuals) through the Emergency Fund. 44.6% of fund distributed went to
keeping families in their homes.
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, find affordable housing and link to job and
skill-building programs. We do this to move people towards a higher level of
In the last year, we served 772 unique
households through Resource Advising, representing 2,358 unique individuals who
have been positively impacted by this program. That’s a 16% increase in resource visits (connecting
clients to other area resources) and 81% increase in application assistance and
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
Last year, 1,313 unique volunteers contributed
24,386 hours to Valley Outreach, valued at $570,660!