What are Stepping Stones open hours? What days is the food pantry open?
There is staff onsite between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday. Donations can be dropped off during these times. If other arrangements need to be made, please contact our office. The food pantry itself is open Mondays 1pm-4pm, Tuesdays 10am-1pm, Wednesdays 2pm-6pm, Fridays 2pm -6pm, and Saturdays 9am-12pm.
How many people in Dunn County are homeless and/or food insecure?
The number of homeless individuals/families in Dunn County cannot be accurately reported because many do not come forward when they are homeless. We can only report the number of clients we have served in homeless situations. For example, 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 25 individuals or families seeking shelter.
Similarly, measuring the number of individuals/families who are food insecure is difficult. In 2020, close to 1 million pounds of food were distributed. In 2021, more than 50,000 pounds of food was distributed per month. More than 1,600 people that were served by our pantry this month.
How can we help?
There are many ways to help! Remember the 3 W's - words, work, wallet. Words - Use your words to be an advocate for Stepping Stones. Talk about the services we offer, like/share our social media posts, and sign-up for our monthly newsletter. Food pantries, Emergeny Shelters, and Volunteer Service programs work because they are supported by a broad and engage community. Work - Volunteer your time. There are fewer volunteers now than before the pandemic, and we rely on help to keep our pantry running smoothly, shelters open, and deliveries made to seniors through our Community Connections program. Help is needed with food distribution, packing SAM bags, Food Rescue pickup, working in the pantry during open hours, assisting with special events, joining our Board of Directors or a sub-committee, and many more. Applications can be found here. Wallet - We have made it through recent turbulent years with grants and the strong support of our community. Many grants are focused and temporary, so we rely on the sustained contributions of people like you. If you are able to provide financial support or donate non-perishable items, please do. Item donations can be dropped off M-F between (9am-4pm.
What are some items that we can donate/are most needed?
We focus on offering healthy and nutritious items such as canned/frozen meats, peanut butter, produce, dairy, etc. but accept and appreciate all items! We also distribute personal hygiene products such as diapers, tampons, and baby food.
How does the food pantry work?
Shoppers enter from our 17th St entrance and drive-up to the marked intercom speaker to speak with a volunteer. Our volunteer will ask the following: name, DOB, number of people in the household, if they participate in Foodshare, and income level. Everyone is welcome to use the food pantry and no one is rejected based on income, Foodshare participation, gender, race, ethnicity, or age. Once checked in, shoppers visit the pantry with set guidelines based on their family size. If a shopper would prefer to stay in their vehicle, they can request a pre-boxed curbside pick-up.
What sorts of food do clients/shoppers receive?
Our shoppers get a large variety of food. Items include deli sandwiches, deli meat, cheese, salads/lettuce, and fruits. Frozen meat options range from turkey to chicken, pork, beef, or fish. Dry goods include rice, pasta, canned fruits or vegetables, cereal, soup, etc. During summer distribution, our Farmer's Feed program brings in fresh produce daily. We do our best to offer dairy products such as milk and eggs but if these items are not available, we provide egg and milk vouchers to local establishments.
How can I take part in the pantry? Are there any requirements or restrictions?
Anyone can visit our pantry. There are no income limits or requirements. To register, bring a drivers license and proof of residence to your first visit. Know the number of people in your household and have a form of identification for each. You will not be turned away for not having these items on your first visit, and will have up to three visits to provide all the necessary information.
How does the shelter program work?
Stepping Stones’ Shelter Program provides emergency shelter, housing assistance, and referral services. We have two fully-furnished shelters that serve families/individuals. Shelter residents work with our staff to 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?