Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
A Salvation Army officer gives a box of food

Food shelves help people escape low points (VIDEO)

Added on Thursday, March 8, 2018

Sometimes it takes only one job loss, one unexpected medical bill, or one blown car engine to wipe out a bank account. Suddenly, there’s no money for rent or groceries.

The Salvation Army helps people climb out of these low points. And one way we help them is by providing a life-giving service that most folks take for granted.


People line up at food shelfWe operate 24 food shelves in Minnesota and North Dakota. Together, these food shelves distributed about 82,500 bags of groceries last year. Each bag was a blessing to a person who didn’t know where their next meal would be coming from.

That includes people like Trish from southern Minnesota. Every so often, she has no choice but to visit her local Salvation Army food shelf.

“If it wasn’t for The Salvation Army, there’s many nights my kids would have gone hungry,” Trish said.

The same can be said about many other kids. In a recent in-house survey, The Salvation Army discovered that just over 40 percent of the people our food shelves serve are children ages 17 and under.

Trish appreciates the food shelf not only because it helps feed her kids, but because it offers healthy options.

“You get great food – things you wouldn’t think would come from a food shelf,” Trish said.

Food boxes What she means is this: Salvation Army food shelves deliberately offer foods that can be combined to create healthy, balanced meals. Each guest is given a specific amount of food from each of these categories:

  • Starch (pasta, rice, potatoes)
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, butter)
  • Meat (beef, chicken, fish)
  • Bread
  • Fruits and veggies

Guests typically receive anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds of groceries for every person in their family – enough to last at least four days.

Trish and thousands of others are grateful for Salvation Army food shelves and the donors who support them.

“It’s a blessing to know that I have this available to me,” Trish said. “Everything we get from here, we eat. You can’t ask for anything better.”


Watch this short video of Trish as she describes the importance of her local Salvation Army food shelf.

How to help

If you’d like to join The Salvation Army in helping people like Trish, please support our food shelves by donating money or giving food at any of our locations in the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota or North Dakota.

Food shelf guest picks produceNow is a great time to donate – especially for Minnesotans, who will have their donation proportionally matched during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.

If you choose to donate nonperishables, please also consider giving one or more of the following items, which typically are in high demand but short supply:

  • Peanut butter
  • Hygiene supplies (toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toilet paper)
  • Baby items (diapers, food, formula)
  • Ethnic foods (bamboo shoots, baby corn, rice, coconut milk, tortillas, maize)
  • Special diet (low-sugar, low-sodium, gluten-free)

Another option: Donate fresh fruits, veggies, and other perishables. We accept donations of perishable foods if they are given, in person, to a Salvation Army staff member at one of our food shelves.