Refreshed: Foodshelf has big reach

Published 10:18 am Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gerald Meier stands in the Southland Faith Food Shelf at Little Cedar Lutheran Church Thursday afternoon. The foodshelf is a joint effort between Adams-area churches and the Southland School District and is a model Mower Refresh is looking at following for a similar project. Eric Johnson/

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Sandy Anderson knows a good idea when she sees it. So when the Mower Refreshed program director saw what a group of churches was doing in Mower County to provide food to the needy, she decided they might try to emulate that.

The Southland Faith Food Shelf — a cooperative between six churches; Little Cedar Lutheran in Adams, Sacred Heart in Adams, United Methodist in Dexter, St. John’s Lutheran near Elkton, St. Peter’s in Rose Creek and St. John the Baptist in Johnsburg — has been providing perishable and non-perishable food to families for the past 10 to 12 years, according to its chairman, Gerald Meier.

Last year, the group provided over 12 tons of food to more than 40 families twice per month, which Meier said shows how much they’re needed.

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“It’s like feeding [80 some] families,” he said. “There’s a big need.”

One idea used at the foodshelf really caught Anderson’s attention. People in the community grow extra produce in their gardens to donate to the foodshelf. That means people who come for food receive fresh, locally grown food to eat. Through Mower Refreshed, that idea can be shared with Austin and other communities.

“I’m out around the county meeting with people who are doing amazing things that aren’t costing hardly any money and could be duplicated in other communities in our counties,” Anderson said.

Anderson noted Mower Refreshed doesn’t take over or take credit for such ideas, but instead looks to share them.

“We’re not creating a project, we’re just putting an opportunity out there,” she said.

While Meier is pleased with what they’ve been able to do, he said none of it would be possible without donations from the community, and the 20 to 25 volunteers at the food shelf.

“It’s really been terrific,” he said. “It’s unbelievable the response we’ve had. It’s been a wonderful program for us.”

For more information on the food shelf, call the Little Cedar Lutheran Church at 507-582-3185.