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Fare For All food program more than fair for all

Grocery prices seem to rise daily, so saving 40 percent on a grocery bill sounds pretty amazing, right?

That’s what David Lindquist thought when he encountered the Fare For All program in 2009.

“Food savings are roughly about 40 percent compared to a grocery store,” Lindquist said.

Fare For All is a nation­wide cooperative food pur­chasing program that allows people to stretch food budg­ets by buying in bulk. It evolved from the former Fare Share program, which began in 1986.

Lindquist, an associate vet­erinarian at the Bobtown Pet Clinic in Roberts, decided to try running a traditional Fare For All site out of the Bobtown Pet Clinic in 2010.

“After purchasing gro­ceries for a couple of months I decided that Roberts would benefit from the program and contacted Fare For All direct­ly after investigating them online,” Lindquist said.

Fare For All is run by the Emergency Foodshelf Network. It has two models: the traditional and the express.

Fare For All express mod­els allow people to buy food packages without prepaying. This model was introduced in 2007 to help keep the organi­zation afloat financially, which struggled through the 2000s. Lindquist runs a tradi­tional model site where orders are prepaid.

“In the traditional model, people pre-pay for their order by calling the order in or placing their orders on distri­bution day for the next month,” Lindquist said. “They then pick up their shares on the once-a-month distribution day.”

On distribution day, Lindquist and a volunteer go to the EFN warehouse in New Hope, Minn., to pick up the bulk food orders.

“We then return to the site, portion the food into shares and give it to the participants when they come to pick it up,” Lindquist said. “We can then take orders for the next month.”

Distribution times at the Bobtown site are once a month from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Times vary by site. Lindquist appreciates small donations to cover the cost of gas for driving to New Hope.

“There are no income requirements, so it is avail­able to everybody,” Lindquist said. “The more people that participate, the better the prices EFN can get, so the better the deal for the participants.”

Lindquist said there are several packages to choose from.

“The food is fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen meats,” Lindquist said. “The food is always good and good for you.”

Prices of the packs range from $10 to $30.

The vegetarian pack includes a bag of potatoes, onions, carrots, and a mix of apples, pears, oranges, grape­fruit, celery, squash, melon and other fruits and vegeta­bles, which vary.

The meat only pack fea­tures four to five non-pork items, such as a combination of chicken, turkey, hamburg­er and sometimes fish, Lindquist said.

The traditional pack is a combination of the vegetari­an and meat only offerings.

Each month showcases a feature package too, Lindquist said.

“Most of the time this is a mega meat package that con­tains eight to 10 meat items, including pork,” Lindquist said. “For Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter there is usually a holiday pack that contains the fixings for a holiday dinner. This is usually a great deal.”

Lindquist said they have just started to offer a la carte items, which vary from month to month. Items fea­tured have been pork tender­loin, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and chicken breasts.

The next distribution/order date is Jan. 25. Lindquist said lately he has been getting 12 to 15 orders per distribution. Statistics show the Bobtown site serves 20 to 25 house­holds, which is 50 to 60 peo­ple.

“I have several people who place a single order for sever­al families,” Lindquist said. “I would really like it if more people participated. The time and effort is about the same for our current numbers as if the numbers were doubled.”

The next distribution day where people can order in person is Jan. 25 at Bobtown.

For more information about your local Fare For All, contact Lindquist at  . For more general informa­tion, visit the website at fare­forall. org.