Why STEP is seeking to move

Over the past couple of years, you may have heard talk of STEP moving to a new building. Why does STEP need to move? STEP needs a larger and better-suited facility to improve our service to our community.

In 2017-18, STEP’s Board of Directors underwent a strategic planning process to chart out our priorities and goals. One of the most significant outcomes of that process was the goal to find a space that can fully host STEP’s programs and operations.

In that time, the Board has explored several possibilities, including partnerships with other entities. This last year, STEP has engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of our future facility needs. A new facility that meets our needs and provides flexibility for future growth and changes will ensure STEP can efficiently and effectively empower lives and restore hope.

The current building on West Lake Street was a significant improvement for STEP at the time of purchase a decade ago. Since then, STEP has provided over 5 million meals worth of food and provided $2 million worth of no-cost clothing. Neighbors in need have physically walked through STEP’s front door for services over 200,000 times. Before that, STEP had relied on donated space from the city and school district. This new home on Lake Street allowed STEP to not operate in crisis, stabilize programs and operations, and plan for the future. Over the last decade, STEP has creatively worked around the building’s limitations. But those workarounds come at a cost of resources and program quality.

 STEP’s current space limits programs

Image may contain: outdoor

STEP’s current home on West Lake Street.

The building was built in 1945 to be used as a plastics factory. The size is 8,000 square feet, hosting operations that need at least 15,000 square feet. STEP does not own the parking lot and the long-term lease on the lot (including accessible parking) is being terminated at the end of this year. Additional municipal parking is being reduced in the Walker-Lake project this summer.

The current building lacks any space for meetings or public events, has cramped offices, no space for efficient, back-loading refrigeration and freezers, and no storage for various programs that we conduct, such as Empty Bowls, Holiday Toys and School Supplies. Currently, we store things in nearby churches and peoples’ garages. Space constraints limit the food program’s amount and variety of food that can be sourced and distributed. An appropriate-sized facility would allow STEP to increase food choices by 50%. The aptly-named Clothes Closet was tight before the pandemic and has been closed for the foreseeable future because no social distancing is possible.

The building also makes it very challenging to safely and efficiently accept incoming donations while we are serving neighbors. Waste, organics, and recycling space is inadequate.

Our vision for a new home

Based on our learnings from the past, and right-sized for our present and future needs, a new building will allow STEP to fully welcome the community’s caring for neighbors in need. It would allow STEP to host a spacious food shelf that had a continuous variety of healthy and fresh items. It would be easily accessible by car, bus, or walking. Visitors would be able to easily and comfortably access the building.  A new building would have a clothing program that could accept more types of donations from the community, have more choices, and allow a safe and dignified shopping experience. In this building, each year we would distribute a half million meals’ worth of groceries, 10,000 bags of no-cost clothing, 1,000 winter coats, backpacks and toys for 500 children, and 20,000 appointments with professional social workers.

A new building would centralize other STEP services from far-flung corners of the community. Clients would no longer need to figure out how to get to a church in another part of town during a specific time to access school supplies or holiday toys for their children. A new building would allow STEP to explore new offerings to community members, including hosting tax clinics or employment resources, farmers market-style produce drops, a reservable office with a computer and webcam for virtual meetings with other providers or job applications for low income neighbors.

A new building would help expand volunteer opportunities for neighbors. Currently, we are limited to hosting very occasional volunteer groups under ten due to space. Volunteer groups, including the next generation of scouts and youth groups, can experience the gift of volunteerism at STEP.

STEP is currently seeking specific building options and understanding what the final price tag will be. STEP will be able to utilize the market value of the current building, but will need to raise additional funds from the community to realize this next step in our now 45 year history.

A new building would be something of which the entire community can be proud. It would be a place where we all come together because we are better together. We look forward to inviting the community to be part of this journey.

Important Update


Here at STEP, we continue to honor our mission by providing food to our St. Louis Park neighbors. If you are in need of assistance please call us at 952.925.4899. The Clothes Closet is closed indefinitely.

The best way to assist STEP at this time is through a financial donation directly through STEP’s website by clicking here .

Thank you for your support!

Nosotros continuamos de honrar nuestra mision en proveer comida a nuestros vecinos de St. Louis Park. Si necesita ayuda llamanos al 952.925.4899. La tienda de ropa esta cerrada.

La mejor forma de ayudarnos en este tiempo es una donacion financiera atraves de nuestra pajina de web.

!Gracias por su apollo!

STEP Up Breakfast

In light of the concerns surrounding COVID 19, the 2nd Annual STEP Up Breakfast will be postponed. It is rescheduled for October 2, 2020. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees, clients, supporters, and the community at large. Please keep an eye on our website and social media accounts for updates regarding the Breakfast. Take care of yourselves!


After the success of last year’s inaugural STEP Up Breakfast we are excited to announce the 2nd Annual STEP Up Breakfast at the Metropolitan Ballroom. This event is a great way to learn more about what STEP does for the community and learn about our current needs.


One of our speakers this year is a former client who will share his experience using STEP services and why STEP is such an important part of the community. Our presenting sponsor is Bridgewater Bank. We are so grateful to have the support of local businesses in the St. Louis Park community, especially our newer neighbor Bridgewater Bank. Other community sponsors include Nordic Ware and The Opus Group.


Click here to register for this amazing event.


We have sponsorship opportunities still available. Please contact Faith Mainor no later than March 31st for sponsorship information. Keep an eye on the STEP website for registration information. Don’t miss this inspirational event. We hope to see you there!

25 Years of Social Work at STEP

Juile Lapointe recently marked her 25th year of service as STEP’s Social Worker & Program Manager

In celebration, we would like to share this video made about Julie and her dedication to social work, her clients and the long lasting effect of building relationships.

Click for Video

Warm Coats for Winter

Warm Coats for Winter
STEP will have winter coats available throughout October for St. Louis Park children and adults who are in need of one. Come during STEP’s Clothes Closet hours and bring current address verification (a utility bill or lease). Call 952-925-4899 with any questions.

STEP Clothes Closet Hours
Mondays and Wednesdays: 9:00-11:00 am and 1:00-3:00 pm
Tuesdays: 1:00-3:00 pm and 6:00-7:30 pm
Thursdays: 9:00-11:00 am and 1:00-3:00 pm
Fridays: 9:00-11:00 am


Winter Coats Donations

If you would like to donate a gently used or new winter coat, please drop off your donation at STEP during our business hours:
Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays:
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Tuesdays: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Fridays: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

All ages and sizes of Coats/Jackets* and Accessories are needed.

*Please only warm winter coats–no lightweight jackets or vests.
Accessories especially needed in all sizes: Boots, Gloves, Mittens, Snow Pants

Click here to order via STEP’s Amazon Wish List

Let’s make sure that everyone in St. Louis Park will be warm this coming winter!


STEP is excited to be starting work on a new program, Food Rescue! This program will enable us to pick up unwanted food from a local grocery store and distribute the product through our food shelf. This is a great opportunity to offer more healthful, fresh food options to our clients that utilize our services.

We are looking to build a crew of volunteers that are excited and dedicated to helping us make this program a success. Available shifts are Monday and Friday mornings, we are looking for warehouse volunteers to help unload, sort, organize and get rescue product out to food shelf clients. Volunteers would need to be able to lift boxes up to 50 pounds on a regular basis. Please contact Allison at allison@stepslp.org for more information or if you are interested in volunteering.

Fare for All

Have you heard about the great food purchasing program we have in St. Louis Park called Fare For All?

It is a non-profit, community-supported program to purchase fresh produce, meat and more at a cost lower than the grocery stores! There is no need to register and is open to EVERYONE regardless of financial situation. The more people who participate, the more savings are passed on to customers.

Fare For All accepts cash, credit, debit, and EBT cards.  Fare for All is a pop-up location in St. Louis Park at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (8115 State Hwy 7) one time each month. The next date is Wednesday January 18th.  All of the SLP 2017 dates can be found here.  We highly encourage you to give it a try and spread the word to your friends and neighbors!


January will also feature the Shoe Away Hunger bus. New and gently used shoes will be fore sale: kids shoes $2, adult shoes $5. They accept cash and credit.  All proceeds help to fund “Good in the ‘Hood feeding Programs”.  Shoe donations and monetary donations are also welcomed.