Suburban food shelf funding increased through Minnesota Legislature

The Columbia Heights based food shelf Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) will receive $2.5 million in funds from the 2023 bonding bill through cash appropriations passed during the Minnesota Legislature’s session.

The funding will go towards the construction of a new facility that will allow SACA to continue providing services to residents of Columbia Heights, Fridley, Hilltop, Spring Lake Park, Northeast Minneapolis, and the surrounding suburbs, according to an announcement on Thursday.

In addition to its increased reach, the facility will include a food shelf, increased storage, consultation rooms, a technology center, a community room and administrative offices, and a secured storage facility for food delivery vehicles. 

"Demand for our services has increased on average by 20% each year for the last five years, and it isn’t slowing down. The new building is urgently needed, as our current facility is far too small, forcing us to store food off-site and preventing us from expanding our services to meet the need in our community. This funding from the Legislature makes all the difference in enabling our project to go ahead," said SACA Board Chair Steve Smith and co-directors Dave Rudolph and Elaine Walker in a joint statement.

Minnesotan's visits to food shelves were up 39.8% in 2022 over 2021, with adult visits up 56% and child food shelf visits up 55.3%, according to a press release on the announcement. 

In the coming year, SACA will still look for an additional $500,000 to go toward increased staffing and programming.