Members of the Perham community came together to help those in need on the afternoon of Thursday, May 27. The Farmers to Families food box returned to the community for the second time this year.
Volunteers gave away free food to those who lined up in their cars at the East Otter Tail Fairgrounds. There were no income, or residency, requirements to receive a food box. Two boxes per family were placed in each car.
The event coordinator, Misti Rose, had been trying to get this program to Perham for the past few months. Last month, there was an extra distribution truck, and she was able to bring one to the area.
According to Rose, this program got started because farmers had more produce than they could use. She said the USDA stepped in to take all of this excess food to distribution centers. From there, the Farmers to Families food box program was able to get food to those who needed it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"So many people have been suffering because they don't qualify for any kind of help," said Rose. "So this program is to help those that (need) it."
While the Farmers to Families food box program has only been to Perham twice, it's officially been around in central Minnesota for the past 14 months.
"It feels good to be able to give to people," said Rose. "I know we've helped so many people. Today, we had outreach from eight different towns, three different counties, and we are literally helping thousands of people; so it's emotional."
Rose made sure to emphasize that she can't do this alone. Without the community, she said, this would never happen. She pointed out the importance of all the volunteers who came to help distribute food.
"Any chance I get, I volunteer whenever I can," volunteer Dorvin Wendt said. "I'm just glad to be here."
Another volunteer, Van Kalinoski, expressed the same, saying he just came to volunteer and help people out.
"We want to help people who are in need of help," said one more volunteer, Kayla Taylor. "It's just a way of us giving back to the community in our own way."
According to Rose, three semi-loads of food were given away to those in need on May 27.