What days is Stepping Stones open? What days is the food pantry open?
There are staff onsite between 8am and 4pm Mondays through Friday. If you would like to donate, you can donate during any of these times or if you have any questions, someone will be available to answer them. The food pantry itself is open Mondays 1pm-4pm, Wednesdays 3pm-6pm, Fridays 3pm -6pm, and Saturdays 10am-12pm.
How many people in Dunn County are homeless and/or food insecure?
The numbers for how many people are homeless in Dunn County can’t be accurately guessed since there may be many people who do not come forward when they are homeless. We can say that in 2021, 292 people received shelter either at the Stepping Stones shelters, or at a local motel when the shelters were full. A total of 9,279 nights of shelter were provided (# of people x # of nights). Our waiting list is often full and may have upwards of 3 families/individuals.
Similarly, measuring the number of families who are food insecure is difficult. But, in 2020 about 1 million pounds of food were distributed and in 2021, more than 50,000 pounds of food was distributed per month. There were more than 1,400 people that were served by our pantry this month.
How can we help?
There are many ways to help! The three main ways is that you can donate money or food, volunteer, or attend one of our events! Cash donations go very far at Stepping Stones. We are able to buy pallets of food from food banks, but we also accept and appreciate food donations as well! You can volunteer with us. Our volunteers are vital to the operation of Stepping Stones – they help us with food distribution, packing, cleaning, food pickup, and many many other things! Stepping Stones could not run without its volunteers! We also have several events throughout the year: The Beat, Empty Bowls, and the Garden Tour.
What are some items that we can donate/are most needed?
Items that are healthy or focus on nutrition are what we would like to focus on. These items could range from things such as canned meats to peanut butter to frozen meats, produce, dairy, etc. We accept and appreciate all canned or boxed items too! We also distribute personal hygiene products, so diapers, tampons, and baby food are much appreciated.
How does the food pantry work?
There is an intercom speaker where you will drive up and speak with a volunteer. This volunteer will ask you your name, DOB, how many people are in your household, if you are on foodshare, and income level. Everyone is welcome to come to the food pantry and no one will get rejected based on income, if you have Foodshare, gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc. Once you have checked in, you will be able to shop the pantry within the guidelines set for your family size. We have shelves containing hygiene products and foods that are more commonly found in Hmong and Hispanic diets. During the summer, we work with local farmers (courtesy of the Farmers’ Feed Program) to get produce and offer it when we can/while supplies last during distribution.
If you are interested in registering for the food pantry, a form of identification must be provided within the first several visits for everyone in the household. Photo identification is preferred, but not necessary.
What sorts of food do clients/guests get?
Our shoppers get a large variety of food, but we aim to supply them with as healthy of stuff as we can. These include deli items such as sandwiches, deli meat, cheese, and salads/lettuce, and fruits. We also have frozen meat that ranges from turkey to chicken, pork, beef, or fish. Our dry goods include rice, pasta, canned fruits or vegetables, cereal, soup, etc. We also work hard to try and add some type of produce or offer produce during summer distribution. We also will do our best to offer some dairy products like milk or egg/milk vouchers.
What do you need to go to the food pantry/income limit/requirements/etc.? Can I get food?
Anyone can get food! There are no income limits or requirements to visit the pantry. When you first register, a drivers license or proof of residence, mail, homework, etc. You will need to have a knowledge of the number of people in your household and income level, but nothing will prevent you from getting food!
How does the shelter program work?
Stepping Stones’ Shelter Program provides emergency shelter, housing assistance, and referral services. Stepping Stones also has two shelters that serve families/individuals and are fully furnished. Shelter residents work with staff to help find and maintain employment and access resources in order to become self-sufficient.
New shelter FAQs
How many people will it house/how many people will be there?
It is a 20 bed shelter so 20 individuals plus staff and volunteers.
What are its hours?
It is open 24/7, 365 days.
When will it be completed?
We are anticipating building completion at the end of 2023 - around Thanksgiving.
Where will their cars be parked?
How will it be staffed?
Who do I call if I notice a problem/disturbance?