The Chetek Food Shelf welcomes the public to see and tour their new building at 50 Highway Boulevard South (CTH SS), just north of the Chetek River bridge on CTH SS in Chetek. The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, July 12.
The organizer of the open house, Louise Driver, said volunteers will talk with people, answer questions and tell the history of the food shelf, which is supported by community donations and grants.
“The people in Chetek are unbelievably generous. It’s a good way to show how their donations are helping people,” Driver said.
Funds raised go toward utilities and overhead costs, food purchasing and running the organization which is entirely volunteer run. No donations go to salaries, because there are no paid positions with volunteers or the board of directors.
Around 9,000 pounds of food is given to around 115 families each month. Driver said most people they help don’t come every month. Most are people who might be between jobs and need assistance for a month.
“People come when they need to,” Driver said. “It’s a small percentage that comes every month. It’s usually people who need short term assistance.”
Both Sue Millard, with the food shelf, and Driver, said new building gave them roughly a third more space, which allows for more storage. More items means they can allow people to pick their own donations, instead of distributing pre-packed boxes. This means there is less waste.
“Clients seem very happy with it. It was a good move,” Millard said. Due to the U.S. tariff situation, there is plenty of canned vegetables and dry beans to give away; now they have enough space to store it all.
A larger parking lot and garage door means they can more easily unload deliveries from semi trucks. A new floor scale means they can more easily weigh the donations to record how much is distributed, Millard added.
At the open house on Friday, there will be refreshments and cookies.
Driver, who started the food shelf and is wrapping up the end of her 30 years with the organization, expected there to be a good attendance at the open house. “We think people will enjoy it,” she said.