New location for Food Shelf and Semcac
The Dodge County Food Shelf and other Semcac services are now moved into their new facility in Kasson. The offices are now located at 20 E. Veterans Highway.
Semcac has a variety of services it offers in Kasson, said Outreach Director Wendy Todd, who works out of the main Semcac office in Rushford.
There are programs related to energy assistance, weatherization, housing rehabilitation and Meals on Wheels among others. Amber Duncan is the Dodge County office contact for these programs. Semcac also operates Head Start in Kasson and provides Meals on Wheels to county residents. In addition to Meals on Wheels, senior dining is also available to Dodge county residents 60 or older and their spouses. In Dodge County, senior dining is offered at Sunwood Manor, she said.
One of the most well-known aspects of Semcac is the Food Shelf, which in Dodge County is located at the Kasson office.
The Food Shelf is open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, said Kim Klejeski, the Food Pantry director.
The Kasson Food Shelf is one of four in Dodge County, Todd said, and so far this year has served 426 households.
Those who meet the Food Shelf qualifications are able to visit the facility once a month for 14 pounds of food per person. Participants get to do their own shopping and choose the food that fits their family needs, she said.
Much of the food given to participants is purchased at Channel One in Rochester. The Channel One truck makes deliveries to Kasson each Wednesday, Klejeski said. Food available from the United States Department of Agriculture is also ordered through Channel One, Todd said.
They also accept donations, both monetary and of food, from residents and organizations. The Triton FFA Chapter recently brought 795 pounds of food to the Food Shelf, Klejeski said.
They also get fresh produce, seasonally when available, from local farmers and individuals with excess produce in their gardens are also welcome to donate.
The location also has refrigeration and freezers so more than canned and boxed foods can be given.
“We try to stock some kind of chicken, beef or pork,” Todd said.
They also get donations from Erdman’s in Kasson and KwikTrip, she said.
The Food Shelf really relies on donations of money and food from area residents and organizations, Todd said.
Ninety percent of budget for the Food Shelf comes from donations with only 10% from government. Most of the government assistance is from the state, she said.
Kids especially like to bring physical groceries to the facility, she said, and all grocery donations are greatly appreciated.
She pointed out, however, that money donations can go much further because the cost of purchasing through Channel One is much less expensive.
“We buy almost all of our products from Channel One,” Todd said. “We can make a dollar really stretch.”
Much of the food that comes from Channel One and the USDA, she said, is also regular, familiar brands and not generic.
While the staff is still getting organized at the new location, all agreed that it is going well.
The location is more visible as it is right on Highway 57 and the additional square footage makes it a better shopping experience for those using the Food Shelf.