With the help of its volunteers, Neighbors, Inc. will strive to reduce poverty,
promote self sufficiency, and build community.



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Neighbors’ Food Shelf

The Food Shelf was Neighbors’ first program designed to help those in need in the south metro area. Neighbors’ Food Shelf opened its doors in 1972, and still continues to provide for the community forty years later. The Food Shelf provides food and hygiene products for about 330 families and individuals needing assistance each month.

When food is donated, either by individuals, businesses or organizations, it is first weighed and inventoried. From there, the food is sorted and dated to be placed on the shelves. Then, when an individual or family comes in for assistance, the volunteers and staff at Neighbors set up an appointment for the individual or family to pick up the food and other items they may need. Neighbors’ volunteers and staff fill out appointment slips that specify how many people are in the family, so an appropriate amount of products will be picked out for them. All around the food shelf are signs indicating how much of each food type a family will receive based on family size. This ensures that food and hygiene products are distributed in a consistent and fair way. The food is packaged in bags and placed in carts, so when the family or individual comes in to pick up their food, it is all ready to go.

Volunteers are the backbone of the operation, and without them, the Food Shelf would not be able to run. Neighbors’ has a very small staff; most of the work done is by volunteers. For instance, today in the food shelf there were four or five volunteers compared to one part-time staff person.

The Food Shelf operates mostly with the help of donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations. Some items are also purchased or obtained in bulk from retailers and from food banks. Food banks operate differently than food shelves in that they do not distribute the food directly to those in need. Instead, organizations such as Neighbors obtain food from the banks and distribute it to the community. The food bank Neighbors works closely with is Second Harvest Heartland who serves 59 counties in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin and is a member of Feeding America.

The needs of the Food Shelf are always changing, but donations are always welcomed and needed. The current needs of the Food shelf are posted just inside the lower level door, at the entrance to the office, and in the donation intake area, and they are updated weekly. At the time of this writing (5/30) the current needs are: canned meats, chili, stew, applesauce, pancake mix/syrup, jelly, toilet paper, toothpaste and deodorant.

Facts and Statistics (Provided by Second Harvest Heartland):

  • 1 meal=1.28 pounds of food

  • For estimated conversions use the following stats:
    $5=18 meals; $10=37 meals; $50=180 meals; $100 feeds a family of four for one month

  • Demand for emergency food has doubled in Minnesota since 2005; today, 1 in 10 Minnesotans are at risk for missing meals. (Hunger in America Study)

  • 1 in 8 Minnesota children lives at risk of hunger.

  • 40% of the members of households served by Second Harvest Heartland are children under 18 years old.

  • Since 2008, visits by seniors to suburban emergency food programs have increased by more than 70%.

  • Only 23% of people age 60 and older who are eligible for the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — called Food Support in Minnesota — actually receive benefits.


~ Questions? Suggestions? Want to get involved? Contact Daniel Zhu



Help for the Holidays: Neighbors Prepares to help those in need!
By Megan Anderson - Sun Newspapers

Just as tax season is hectic for accountants, the approaching holiday season is equally as frenzied for Neighbors Inc. and its volunteers.Neighbors is gearing up to provide those in need with assistance through holiday programs, including Adopt-a-Family, Adopt-a-Senior, and Love Your Neighbor. View Article >


Plan To End Hunger In The Twin Cities!
Hunger is often invisible but it is a prevalent and serious problem in the midst of the Twin Cities communities. For a wide range of reasons, tens of thousands of people—many of them children--are hungry or uncertain about where or how they will obtain their next meal.
View PDF Document > 


Charities Review Council – Neighbors, Inc. Meets All Standards!
Charities Review Council. View Article >


Winter Coat Drive To Benefit Neighbors
By Megan Anderson - Sun Newspapers

With another cold winter approaching, two local organizations hope to help needy residents stay warm. Heartland Credit Union is sponsoring a winter coat drive for Neighbors Inc. Oct. 15 through Nov. 16. The drive will collect new and gently-used winter coats to benefit the non-profit social-service agency, which serves more than 15,000 people throughout northern Dakota County. View Article >


Volunteering knows no age limit
By Kassie Petermann - Sun Newspapers

Service to the community has been a part of Virginia Milbert's life for the past 90 years and she isn't about to change that philosophy anytime soon. She is one of hundreds of volunteers who offer their time, energy and kindheartedness to helping their community through Neighbors Inc. View Article >

Support local food shelves during Minnesota FoodShare Month
By Megan Anderson - Sun Newspapers

March certainly has blown in like a lion this year. Now that it has arrived, it's likely that local food shelves are going bare. It's a good thing that this month is Minnesota FoodShare month. View Article >

The happiness generosity creates...The Tale of the Lloyd’s Barbecue Ribs.

In late February we received a call from a friend at Lloyd’s Barbecue offering to donate some ribs to our food shelf.  “Some ribs” didn’t do it justice.  Two days later we picked up three and a half skids, about 3,500 pounds.  And less than two months later, Lloyd’s called again, this time donating another three skids, an amazing act of generosity.  That was Act I.  In Act II, we had to figure out how to store 3,500 pounds of ribs.  Needless to say, we do not have the space required.  That’s when Knowlan’s Super Market came to our rescue and offered to store our ribs as long as we needed; another amazing act of friendship and generosity.

Now the story takes a turn.  In mid April a client was picking up food at the food shelf.  The last items to go into the bag were a couple of packages of Lloyd’s Ribs and the client began to cry, telling the person helping her, “You have no idea how much this means to me.  Monday is my daughter’s birthday and just this morning she told me she knew I didn’t have any money for a cake or a present, but if I could somehow get some ribs, that is all she’d ask for.”  We gave her some extra ribs and found a birthday cake in the freezer. 

Here at Neighbors we believe that everything happens for a reason.  Is it a coincidence that Lloyd’s donated ribs to Neighbors, that Knowlan’s agreed to store them for us, and that this woman’s daughter asked for ribs the very day she was coming to Neighbors for assistance?  We at Neighbors don’t think so. -N-




Contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Neighbors, Inc.

222 Grand Avenue West

South Saint Paul, MN 55075

Phone: 651-455-1508

Fax: 651-455-1319



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