Woodbury is known for being a tight-knit neighborhood, and that’s all at the hands of you—the community. But there’s several nonprofits in Woodbury that give back and help to strengthen the community as well, including the Woodbury Community Foundation and the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf (CCEFS).
Woodbury Community Foundation
Named “Friends of Woodbury” in 2003, the Woodbury Community Foundation began with seven concerned citizens who had the goal of purchasing a piano for the newly built Central Park. After several other community needs were discovered, the group expanded and established a community-focused nonprofit foundation.
“We raise money to give it back to the Woodbury community for three reasons,” says Roger Green, board chair.
First, to grow philanthropy, “We want Woodbury to be known for its generosity,” he says. The foundation teaches and promotes philanthropy, through the community grants program, which raises money for food insecurity, youth development, public safety, and health and wellness, as well as partner funds.
The foundation has additional programs, including the Woodbury Citizens Academy, training future volunteers, the Non-Profit Round Table and Woodbury Thrives, which connects volunteers to organizations to promote health across the community. The foundation also partners with the City of Woodbury and the Woodbury Lions Club.
The second reason, Green says, is “to meet needs … [and] to create connectivity.” The Woodbury Community Foundation took the lead in emergency grants during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have been doing COVID-19 emergency grants for Woodbury, and have given away close to $40,000 to several local nonprofits serving the most adversely impacted [communities],” Green says. Individual donations, as well as a grant from the Minnesota Council of Foundations, contributed to this funding.
And after the death of George Floyd, Green says the foundation is developing plans to address racism in the community. He says, “We feel very strongly that food insecurity and the many other issues we address in our work are all a result of racial inequality in our community, and we want to explicitly draw that out.”
Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf
In 1983, seven local churches formed together to address local hunger, and so began the CCEFS in the basement of Woodbury Lutheran Church.
“During our first year of operation, CCEFS served about five families per week, at a time when Woodbury’s population was around 6,000 people,” says executive director Jessica Francis.
The mission is to supply nutritious food to the community, engaging in the fight against hunger. CCEFS provides dairy, meat, fresh produce, hygienic items and more to the community. The food shelf also offers a mobile food shelf for seniors, Wildcard Wednesday grocery rescue and free produce fairs. The program is now headquartered in Oakdale but continues serving the Woodbury community.
Francis says, “Last year, through our food market alone, we served 356 families from Woodbury, including 526 children … [and] 39 homeless families.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, Francis says the number of people served has more than doubled.
“We’ve changed our services to serve many more people than we had previously,” she says. CCEFS now hosts large scale food distributions at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove, the Washington County Fairgrounds and East Ridge High School.