Save on groceries at Blaine’s new Fare For All Express site

Anyone can stop by Christ Lutheran Church to pick up discounted groceries when a Fare For All Express distribution site opens in Blaine May 22.

A program of the Emergency Foodshelf Network, Fare For All sells food packs to anyone and everyone for up to 40 percent in savings.

It’s a unique program in that it isn’t marketed solely to low-income families: People who are strapped for cash and those who simply enjoy a good bargain can both take advantage of what Fare For All has to offer.

At each of the 30 Fare For All Express sites throughout the Twin Cities, volunteers assist customers when packs go on sale once each month.

The regular pack costs $20 and includes five kinds of fresh vegetables, two types of fresh fruit and a minimum of four varieties of meat. Customers can purchase produce and meat-only packs separately for a slight cost increase. Produce Packs cost $10, and meat-only packs go for $11.

A mega-meat pack sells for $25 and includes up to nine frozen meat selections.

In November and December, mega-meat packs are replaced with holiday pack offerings.

The program focuses on offering meat and produce because they are some of the most expensive food items. Pinching pennies, shoppers are apt to remove them from their grocery carts first when money is tight, but that’s problematic because they provide necessary nutrition.

Fare For All keeps prices low by purchasing food from wholesale providers. Volunteers package the food and help site operations run smoothly.

The more people that purchase groceries from Fare For All, the lower the organization can keep prices.

The new Fare For All Express site at Christ Lutheran Church, 641 89th Ave. NE., will open from 3-5 p.m. May 22, June 19, July 24, Aug. 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 16, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11.

Customers can pay for food with cash, credit cards, debit cards or EBT funds. Personal checks are not accepted.

Christ Lutheran Church is excited about the opportunity to host Fare For All, according to Suzy Schultz, the church’s director of outreach and evangelism. “This congregation is really all about outreach in the community,” she said. “I knew it would appeal to them to be able to provide this service for people.”

The site at Christ Lutheran Church is one of six opening for the first time in 2014.

Blaine, with its abundance of families, was at the top of Fare For All’s list when the organization decided to open new locations, according to Fare For All Program Manager Sophia Lenarz-Coy.

Previously, the closest Fare For All Express sites for Blaine families were located in Anoka at Zion Lutheran Church and Fridley at the community center.

Fare For All started as part of a nationwide program in 1986. Then, it was called Fare Share, and customers had to prepay, ordering their food in advance. It came into its current format in 2007, and participation has increased 700 percent since that time, Lenarz-Coy said.

For more information about Fare For All, visit www.fareforall.org, or call 1-800-582-4291.

Olivia Koester is at olivia.koester@ecm-inc.com

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