Even though we might not be aware, hungry echo food shelf people may live down the street or in the car parked just around the corner.
According to Second Harvest Heartland in the Twin Cities, one in eight Minnesotans (including 20 percent of children) don’t know where their next meal will come from. Food shelves are set up in the region to provide food for families and individuals. Volunteers are often the only staff at smaller food shelves. The ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato also relies heavily upon volunteers. It employs three full-time employees and three part-time workers to feed hungry families. ECHO stands for Emergency Community Help Organization.
ECHO Food Shelf registration is easy. You can go online at echofoodshelf.org and answer a few questions, or you can apply over the phone at 507 345-7508. According to Sara Diel (ECHO’s assistant manager), ECHO serves Blue Earth County as well as North Mankato. However, ECHO does not refuse anyone who needs food.
Volunteers are always at the forefront of our minds. Deisy De Leon Esqueda is ECHO’s manager. She explained that there were 130-150 volunteers before the pandemic. This number dropped to 80 after COVID-19. The shopping process has also changed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Instead of having a volunteer assist a family or individual as they place groceries from shelves into a shopping basket, volunteers fill orders that have been placed by clients online or over the phone. Clients then collect their groceries at the door at a time and have them wheeled to their car in a cart. ECHO volunteers and staff all wear masks and encourage clients to use them.
Service that is well-Established Echo Food Shelf
Since 1983, ECHO Food Shelf has been providing food for hungry people. Local media and social workers have helped to make people aware about the food shelf.
ECHO’s story started with a 1982 housefire that destroyed the home of a family member. Food donated for their relief was kept in a basement. The idea for a food shelf was born from this incident. In a meeting held at Lincoln Community Center, like-minded people met and formed a board. ECHO was then incorporated as an non-profit organization. After a fundraiser raised $45,000, the food shelf was moved to 614 North Second Street.
ECHO relocated to its current location at 1014 S. Front Street in 2011. This new location offers parking for volunteers, ample storage, and display shelving. A variety of meats are stored in the freezer, including steaks, chicken, pork, and fish. You can find milk, eggs, cheese, butter and yogurt in refrigerators. Also, you can get pre-made salads or bags of greens from them. Another area is stocked with cleaning products, personal care products and paper products.