Support your neighbors in need

STEP is working around the clock to respond to residents’ basic needs. STEP’s priorities are providing a full-range of groceries to any resident in need and responding to housing challenges. STEP’s social workers are also available via phone to connect residents with other resources (tax help, transportation assistance, etc).


Please empower STEP to provide the highest quality of service to our St. Louis Park neighbors. Give to the COVID 19 Emergency Response Campaign today!

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STATEMENT – Updated March 27, 2020

In anticipation of widespread disruption to the community due to the coronavirus pandemic, STEP has made preparations to ensure our mission can continue in a safe and responsible way. Each year, STEP distributes about half a million meals’ worth of food (600,000 lbs) to neighbors in need. STEP is well positioned to respond to the current crisis. By joining with STEP, community members support the most efficient and equitable distribution of food to neighbors in need.

STEP’s priority will be to ensure neighbors retain access to food and to minimize risk of community transmission. STEP has been sourcing additional food. Access to the building is currently closed to the public. Plans have been established to respond to staff or volunteer shortages and neighbors not being able to physically leave their homes.

At this time, STEP believes it has the staffing capacity to respond to the community need. In order to promote social distancing, we are operating with as few people as possible. If volunteer needs change, STEP will put out a call for additional assistance.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How does the stay-at-home order impact STEP?

STEP’s service to community members in need will be essential during the March 28 – April 10 stay-at-home order. Staff and limited volunteers will continue food-related operations to ensure neighbors don’t go without food. Households needing food will continue to be allowed to pick up food at a prearranged time (instructions below). More information on the order can be found here.

Food and personal hygiene donations should not be brought to STEP during the stay-at-home order. If you are shopping at either St. Louis Park Cub Foods during the order, you can leave food donations in the STEP bin past the check out lanes. STEP believes it has sufficient food for the next few weeks. If you have food donations for STEP, we ask that you wait until the order is over, or drop your donations off at Vista Lutheran Church on Tuesdays (until 5:00pm) or Saturdays (until 3:00pm). Vista (4003 Wooddale Ave S, St Louis Park, MN 55416) is collecting non-perishable food items in the entryway facing the parking lot during the day Tuesday and Saturday. Vista is working with STEP to ensure safe collection and storage protocols. Vista will be collecting food on behalf of STEP at least through the duration of the stay-at-home order.

 

How do neighbors get food?

Residents of St. Louis Park in need of food will need to call STEP ahead of time (952-925-4899) during the regular business hours. Due to minimal staffing levels, the caller may need to leave a voice message which will be returned. Clients will set up a time to pick up prepacked bags outside of the building, at the rear door.

 

What food will be provided?

STEP will prioritize basic non-perishable items designed to last two weeks. Items such as milk, eggs, meat, and bread will be provided if available. Special needs such as pet food, toilet paper, diapers, and feminine hygiene may be provided if available.

 

What if someone can’t leave their home to pick up food at STEP?

If someone doesn’t believe they can pick up their own food due to illness or other barriers, they should call STEP and ask to problem solve with a social worker.

 

How often can a participant visit the food shelf?

Participants can access the food shelf twice a month, with two weeks between visits.

 

What are the hours?

The hours available to schedule pick up will generally be during the day on weekdays and Tuesday evenings. The building is closed to the public.

 

For those who haven’t accessed STEP before, what are the requirements?

STEP’s mission is to respond to the needs of residents of St. Louis Park. When you call, you will be asked a few questions including home address. STEP does not share personal information with any outside entity.

Residents of other communities can find their nearest food shelf by calling 1-888-711-1151 or visiting http://www.hungersolutions.org/find-help/.

 

What if someone needs to talk to a social worker?

Clients who need to talk to a social worker may be asked to leave a voice mail message. A social worker will return the call as soon as possible.

 

What if someone needs emergency assistance to keep their housing?

Inquiries for emergency assistance will be handled by being asked to leave a voice mail message at 952-234-4323 . A social worker will return the call as soon as possible. During the state of emergency, eviction actions are being halted due to the governor’s 3/23/20 executive order.

 

What if someone needs to access the Clothing Closet?

In the interest of prioritization of food and minimize virus transmission, STEP has indefinitely suspended its Clothing Closet program. STEP is not accepting clothing donations until further notice.

 

What if someone needs to access a ride to a medical appointment?

STEP’s volunteer resources are significantly curtailed. Medical rides are suspended until at least March 31.

 

What kind of donations does STEP need?

The most significant need right now is financial. STEP can cost-effectively source key food items through our food bank and retail partners. No clothing donations will be accepted until further notice.

During the stay-at-home order, STEP will not be accepting donations at our building. For details on where to donate items, see the first FAQ above. Once the stay-at-home order is finished, STEP will resume accepting food as follows:

Food and personal hygiene item donations can be dropped off at red door facing the alley of STEP’s building during the following times: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8:00-11:30 & 1:00-4:00; Tuesday: 1:00-3:00 & 5:30-7:30; Friday: 8:00-11:30. Please ring the bell and a STEP representative can take the donations. Items cannot be left out of the building during other times. The front, main entrance will be closed to the public.

In an effort to minimize virus transmission, food donations will be briefly quarantined in a designated area of the warehouse. Residents can always donate to STEP at the food shelf donation bins at either St. Louis Park Cub Foods stores.

 

Are there volunteer opportunities?

At this time STEP does not require additional volunteers. STEP is seeking to minimize the number of people who are at our site and who have contact with neighbors we serve. If a need for volunteers develops, STEP will communicate the need for healthy, low-risk volunteers.

 

How is STEP keeping people safe?

STEP is doing everything in its power to perform our mission while protecting the health of employees, volunteers, and those we serve. STEP’s building is closed to the public and only accessed by people who are necessary to be on site for core functions. Most volunteers have been requested to stay at home. STEP is following public health experts’ advice in verifying the lack of symptoms and exposure of workers each day and are taking extra precautions while handling food.

The virus is not thought to spread through food. Coronaviruses are generally spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. It is always a good idea to wash off fruits and vegetables before preparation.