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Rural grocer networks help feed those in isolation

March 20, 2020
two women with many food boxes - funny sign above reads "It is what it is"
In the back room of Bonnie's Hometown Grocery, volunteers maintain social distance while packing and delivering color-coded meal-kit boxes.

Fourteen-day meal kits are being deployed to community members who need to isolate themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic time of need, thanks to a network involving Kathy Draeger, director of Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

Draeger lives in rural Clinton (Big Stone County) and conducts research on rural grocery stores and other local foods. “Developing these meal kits involves rural grocery stores as a critical frontline for rural food access,” she says.

Bonnie's Hometown Grocery and Graceville Country Market are the first stores to participate in this project. Mason Brothers Wholesale, of Wadena, is the wholesale grocer that delivers the majority of food on the shelves in both Clinton and Graceville. The Clinton Civic Club and Trinity Lutheran Church contributed funds.

Mason Brothers truck pulls up in front of Bonnie's Hometown Grocery
A Mason Brothers Wholesale truck pulls up to Bonnie's Hometown Grocery in Clinton, Minn.

Says Bonnie Carlson about Mason Brothers during this time of national crisis, “I’m impressed with everything we got off the trucks today.”

An Extension health and nutrition program team led by Abby Gold provided guidance on shelf stability, affordability, and nutrition for the kits so they can be replicated elsewhere around the state for approximately $150 per person/kit. (See fact sheet with directions and information.) 

The kits include foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

 

 

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