1911 Curve Crest Blvd. West, Stillwater, Minnesota 55082
651-430-2739 - info@valleyoutreachmn.org

Business Hours: M, W, & F: 9:00am – 4:00pm T & Th: 9:00am – 7:00 pm

Client Service Hours: M, W, & F: 10:00am – 12:00pm T & Th: 5:00pm – 7:00 pm

Donation Hours: M – F: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at 1901 Curve Crest
(no donations accepted at the loading docks)
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Valley Outreach Annual Report FY2015-2016


From the Heart


At our last Feed the Valley event, a former client named Paula shared the story
of her family and how they were supported during a challenging time.
Her sons, twin boys named Jameson and Isaac (pictured above), are her "world."
We're sharing her story with you, below, as just a glimpse of the impact of your support.


"I grew up in st. Paul in a single-parent family. My dad died when I was 2. My mom was a teacher and I had a pretty normal upbringing - nothing out of the ordinary. I never expected to be a single mom. I never expected to use programs like the ones Valley Outreach has, but that's where life has taken me. 

I started coming to Valley Outreach when the boys were two. I was waitressing and in nursing school, while also trying to feed and clothe myself and the kids. The biggest expense was childcare, in addition to school, rent, and other bills. It's hard to make life livable.

When I came to Valley Outreach I was very uncomfortable about being judged or pitied and I totally dreaded walking in the first time. but the staff I met were incredibly kind and so easy to talk with. It's a very welcoming place.

I didn’t realize how shaky my food situation really was until I went to the food shelf. It is beautiful – so many kinds of fruits and vegetables and meat. 
I used to ration my food so I had enough for the boys – I didn’t go hungry but I didn’t know what it was like to have actually have enough fruit so you could eat it when you want.  

Since coming to Valley Outreach, I have built up a pantry with supplies like rice wine vinegar and spices and herbs – I can make all sorts of things like curries and stir fries. Now I can take anything and make a good, healthy meal. Coming to Valley Outreach opened the door to cooking for me. Cooking is my hobby now. 

And I loved Bonus Friday – it was like “Chopped” every week for me!  
Actually, Bonus Friday totally changed how Isaac and Jameson eat – they don’t care for fast food anymore and I think they have a sophisticated palate! I’d say that about 70% of our fruits and vegetables came from the food shelf. And when we could make it to Bonus Friday, ALL our produce came from the food shelf. It not only changed the way I eat, it changed the way the boys eat. Except Isaac doesn’t like collard greens. 

I completed my 2 year nursing degree last summer and just last month, started a part-time job at Regions Hospital working in acute rehab. 
I haven’t used the food shelf in recent months. It was there when I needed it and by not spending money on groceries, I had money for my electric bill and glasses for the boys. Being able to get clothing and food moved me through a very difficult time in my life
.

Thanks for letting me share my story and how we went from one apple for mom a day to avocados, berries, squash, broccoli and a steady supply of what my kids need to grow. It changed my whole lifestyle.
 I hope you will support this incredible organization – it made a difference in my life and it made a difference in the lives of Jameson and Isaac."  

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                                                            Click to play this Smilebox slideshow


Our Mission:  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

With headlines reading "Biggest Income Gains in 50 Years" and "Food Prices Declining," you'd think the need for organizations like ours would diminish. And that couldn't be further from the truth. We experienced increases in usage across all of our programs in the last fiscal year.  

For five decades, American anti-poverty policies have focused on helping the chronically poor. This overlooks the growing number of working families who face extreme ups and downs in income and expenses. Low-wage work can be uneven and unstable and layoffs are common. Cars can break down or a child can become ill - income volatility is high for lower-income households and financial security is harder to achieve. We see these scenarios play out in the 600+ households we serve monthly. Bankrate.com released a 2016 survey that showed 63% of Americans had no emergency savings and more than 4 in 10 Americans experienced a major unexpected expense over the past twelve months. The US Federal Reserve has strikingly similar reports, going back to 2014. So, where does Valley Outreach fit in?

Valley Outreach is the only organization of its kind in the St. Croix Valley, offering a spectrum of wrap-around services from food, clothing, financial assistance, resource support to intensive case management - our newest program. Through our food shelf, we don't expect to solve the hunger issues we face, but we do create food security for more people and we do create stability for families when they have enough to eat. Our competitive advantage (yes, non-profits have them!) is that we have a level of service, and a model of service, that is unduplicated in our community. We can keep people who face a sudden loss of income from spiraling into despair and we can level the bumps in the road.

With an eye towards our food shelf programming, know that Minnesota, overall, is making progress on reducing hunger - we do better than most states, according to the USDA (Household Food Security in the United States in 2015 report). Minnesota also ranks well in new data from the Food Research and Action Center yet highlighted is the fact that households with children have more food hardships than those without. At Valley Outreach, 38% of our clients are children, so that data hits home for us. Most often, food is a presenting problem - a starting point - people who can't afford it cannot afford other things.

Please read on for more detailed information, by program, and see for yourself how your dollars are translated into action. Thank you!

Food Shelf

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 80 households received an average of 18 pounds of food per person by the Bonus Friday fresh food distribution.

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 meals are not available. The year featured more whole grains, fruit, and protein-packed lunch choices.

Approximately 266 elementary age students in 12 different schools received critical weekend snacks and meals as part of the Snack Pack program. We distributed 8,587 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 35 households each month. Last year we had 316 deliveries, distributing the equivalent of 11,316 meals!

Produce Distribution (NEW) & Oak-Land Market  
In the summer of 2016, Valley Outreach launched a monthly produce giveaway, located at Oak-Land Junior High. With a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, this giveaway also increases our visibility in the southern part of our core service area. This distribution was launched at the same time we moved into the second year of a pilot – Oak-Land Market – a secondary school food shelf program. With these two initiatives, we better connect to families through their home school while offering support for those who can’t as easily access our Stillwater-based programs.

Through our various food shelf programs, we distributed approximately 646,187 meals last year. (We highlighted some favorite recipes made with ingredients from the food shelf on social media, check #fromtheshelves on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!!)

During the last fiscal year, there were  9,481 visits to the Valley Outreach Food Shelf programs, through which 808,372 pounds of food were distributed to 1,468 unique households, reaching 3,825 unique individuals. That’s an 10% increase in individuals served from last year!

Of those served:

  • 40% were children 
  • 35% of households used the program for the first time ever 
  • 21% increase in seniors served from the last year
  • 142 homeless households comprised of 366 individuals served (42% increase from last year - This number continues to grow, as do our efforts to connect and support those in crisis.)

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 133 families each month.

During the last fiscal year, there were 1,600 visits to the Valley Outreach Clothing Closet and 51,699 items of clothing were distributed to clients in need. 



Emergency Fund

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 distributed approximately $42,207 in financial assistance to 153 households (432 individuals) through the Emergency Fund. Over 50% of the funds distributed went to keeping families in their homes.

Resource Advising

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 self-sufficiency.

In the last year, we served 1,096 unique households through Resource Advising, representing 3,487 unique individuals who have been positively impacted by this program. 


Case Management Program (New!)
Last year, Valley Outreach took on a case management program from Ascend after a detailed review of the needs in our community and of our clients. Case management, paired with the other Valley Outreach services, offers clients fully integrated support. Our program is goal based. With support from our case manager, clients identify specific goals they would like to reach, review the barriers to reaching their goals, and create a plan to overcome them. Examples include employment support, mental health referrals, housing, transportation, and accessing other community supports. The end result is helping clients address the many barriers they face, getting them back on their feet and helping them stay there.

Volunteer 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, 1,289 unique volunteers contributed 28,197 hours to Valley Outreach, valued at $664,320! 






 

Audited Financials FY15 - 16
FY15-16 990 

Donors 

We make every effort to correctly recognize our generous donors. If you find an error relating to your name, please accept our apologies and contact info@valleyoutreachmn.org with the correction. We are fortunate to have multiple in-kind donations throughout the year. Please watch our social media for postings as kids, families, organizations, and businesses support our work. 

Individuals
Foundation, Business, Religious, and Civic Groups
Tribute Gifts

Board of Directors (Active during FY2015-2016)


Kathy Saltzman - Chair
Rev. Holt Buff Grace - Vice Chair
Liz Smith - Treasurer
Traci Thompson - Secretary
Jan Hallstrom - Past Chair
Deanne Bergevin
Becky Billingsley
Laura Fredericks
Chris Foster
Sue Gillman
Bruce Holcomb
Ben Klocke
Wendy Mortimer
Mike Ptacek

Peggy Ahola - term ended
Kyle Johnson - term ended
Marc Kimball - term ended
Andy Rollwagen - term ended

Current Staff

Tracy Maki - Executive Director
Matt Allen - Lead Client Advocate
Amy Brown - Administrative Coordinator
Megan Buchanan - Food Shelf/Clothing Closet Manager
Cynthia Frederick - Emergency Fund Coordinator
Kris Huntley - Resource Liaison
Suzanne Lindquist - Volunteer Manager
Caleb Mingus - Program Coordinator
Liz Riley - Director of Programs
Kateri Routh - Director of Operations
Kelly Unger - Development Associate

 



MISSION

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.

© 2013 Valley Outreach - Terms 

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