Prairie Five Community Action is actively working to assure food availability, access, and usage. It is becoming increasingly difficult to reach all of the individuals in need of food with our four food shelves, senior dining/meals on wheels, backpack programs and Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS). We decided to take ACTION by providing food access while meeting local needs. Prairie Five has engaged partners in our five-county service area to build innovative ways to improve food access and affordability in our rural area where 70% of our communities’ population base is less than 500 people. Many of our communities no longer have gas stations, cafes, or grocery stores. Our entire service area is defined as a rural food desert.
Developing a Mobile Food Shelf System started out with local volunteer gardeners driving 30 miles to deliver over 20,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to our Chippewa County Food Shelf last summer. We decided it was time to break down barriers that may hinder people that need access to basic needs and services. With a $75,000 grant from Hunger Solutions, Prairie Five started developing Mobile and Satellite Food Shelves in our service area. Staff and volunteers have been refining the process as they go. In a very short period of time we have expanded into three communities and three senior citizen high rise complexes. We will continue to expand with the rising demand for food access in our service area. The Mobile Food shelf has opened additional opportunities to serve seniors through the Senior Nutrition, NAPS, and SNAP programs.
Food insecurity anywhere affects us all. Prairie Five is moving forward to remove obstacles to help families and individuals in having an adequate, dependable, and safe source of food in Region 6W.