The Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf (CCEFS) has faithfully served the local community for nearly as long as Woodbury has been around. Founded back in the early 1980s by Dick and Sharon Wolff along with a group of faith leaders, the organization ensures that area residents can have their most basic need met: healthy food to eat every day. As they prepare to move into a new building, the staff looks to the future with anticipation, eager to grow both their square footage and their capacity to serve those in need.
When the CCEFS was founded in 1983 the U.S. economy was in a deep recession, and Woodbury area residents were feeling the effects. “There was a great need in the community with a lot of families just trying to make ends meet,” says executive director Greig Metzger. “A number of leaders in some of the local churches recognized that need and decided to come up with a solution to meet it.”
From there, the CCEFS was born. It began small. “It literally started out as a closet in the basement of Woodbury Lutheran Church,” Metzger says, but over the years, it has grown alongside the area itself. “Back then the population of Woodbury was around 6,000 and we probably served 20 or 25 households a month,” Metzger says. “But the organization evolved as the surrounding areas evolved and grew. We now serve a population of a little over 100,000 people.”
In recent years, the organization has grown tremendously, increasing its hours of operation, the number of programs and the number of people served. “The food shelf has really transformed itself in terms of how it operates internally as well as expanded and evolved to a variety of different programs to better serve our community,” Metzger says.
With that expansion comes a need for more space. “Woodbury Lutheran has been super supportive. We’ve continued to take over more and more space in the church, and they’ve been gracious enough to provide that,” Metzger says. “But it’s a huge church and heavily programmed. We take up a lot of common space when we’re open, so just logistically, we can’t be open there more than what we already are.”
Enter Raise the Roof, a capital campaign that will make possible a new 6,000-square-foot facility on the grounds of Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale, specially designed for the needs of the CCEFS. Ground was broken in September, and the group hopes to be in the building by year-end. More space means more hours of operation, more room for volunteers and more people served. Metzger says the extra room for volunteers is an especially exciting benefit. “Right now, we can’t fit more than 10 people in our space, but we’ll be able to come up with new opportunities for youth groups, adult groups, businesses and faith organizations,” he says.
The goal of the capital campaign is $750,000, and Metzger says that thanks to the generosity of the community, they are nearly there. From banks and local businesses to faith organizations and families, the Raise the Roof campaign has found tremendous support across the Woodbury area.