Visiting the Welcome Pantry
Effective February 1st, 2024, the Welcome Pantry will be moving to an appointment-based model.
Available on this website, you will be able to select your appointment. You may also call to set up an appointment. The voicemail line is 507-552-0019. Please leave your name, phone number, and shopper number, a staff member or volunteer will return your call to set up an appointment for you. We will leave a message if we are able. We are unable to set appointments via text message.
We will be unable to serve walk-in appointments.
Appointments will be available on these days and times:
3rd Saturday of each month 9:00-11:00
Designated Shopping Hours will be each Thursday from noon to 2:00 for those who may need extra accommodations, such as seniors, those who are immunocompromised, or those with disabilities. These appointments are not yet available to book online. Please check back soon.
We ask that shoppers follow these guidelines to help us shorten wait times for everyone:
Arrive to the Welcome Pantry at your scheduled time to shop. If this is your first-time shopping and you need to register for a shopper number, please arrive 15 minutes early.
Due to parking limitations, we ask that you do not arrive early unless you need to register.
If you miss your appointment, you may be asked to reschedule or receive an emergency food box instead.
Appointments are scheduled in 15-minute blocks of time.
If you are bringing others to shop, each person must schedule an appointment at that time.
We are unable to accommodate walk-in appointments.
The Welcome Pantry and the United Way offices will be closed to the public March 10th-17th for spring break cleaning, organizing, and office maintenance. The Welcome Pantry appointment line will be monitored and calls will be returned when the office reopens after the 17th or as staff/volunteers are available.
If this is your first visit, we will ask you to complete a one time registration process. This process takes 3 to 5 minutes and you do not need to bring any documentation. At the end of this registration, you will receive a shopper card with a number that you can use to check in each time you come to visit for shopping.
When you shop, you can expect to find signs at each "station". These signs let shoppers know how much of an item they can take. This is based on household size. The limits will change from week to week depending on availability, how long the food will last, etc.
Your food choices may differ from another shopper’s food choices. For example, we may be able to get apples, and shoppers may be able to choose apples for their produce. When the apples are gone, we work to offer another choice, such as bananas. It is our goal to offer a variety of fresh, nutritious foods.
Please bring shopping bags or boxes to pick up your food. Due to space limitations, we ask that you do not bring wagons, wheeled carts or similar items into the pantry. Shopping carts are provided.
Food resources in the county can be found on our website at http://unitedwayfc.org/food
If you have any questions or concerns about the Welcome Pantry, please reach out to our Food Shelf staff at 507-373-8670.
Sending a Proxy to Pick Up Food
If it is difficult to visit the Food Shelf in person, shoppers have the option to select someone else to pick up their food. That person is their proxy. Shoppers have the right to choose who can pick their food. Shoppers can also cancel permission for a proxy at any time by contacting Food Shelf staff. You may choose who your Proxy is by giving their name at the time of registration, or if you are unable to come in person, please call 507-373-8670 to set it up. Please note that we must speak directly to the individual receiving food before the proxy may shop. We can do this by telephone, but it will not be during pantry hours. Please contact our Food Shelf staff in advance to make a plan for shopping.
Social Service Professionals
Caseworkers, community health workers, home health aides and other social service professionals can serve as a proxy for their clients. Proxies may shop for their clients or pick up boxes of groceries from the Food Shelf.
For more information, social service professionals can contact the food-shelf at 507-373-8670.
Food Shelf Eligibility
The Welcome Pantry follows The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) eligibility guidelines. We serve households who are at or below 300% of the poverty level.
I am eligible to receive TEFAP commodity food because:
- I am in Minnesota and
- My household income is 300% or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
I am also eligible if I receive or participate in the following services and programs:
- MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program)
- Child Care Assistance
- GA (General Assistance)
- Head Start
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program)
- Section 8
- CSFP (Commodity Supplemental Food Program) / NAPS (Nutritional Assistance Program for Seniors)
- Public Housing
- WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
- Energy Assistance
- Free and reduced breakfast and lunch
2023 Income Eligibility (300% of Federal Poverty Guidelines)
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Eligibility Information
PDFs containing eligibility information for the TEFAP program can be found below in various languages. For interpretation services, please call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151.