Church, community members and transportation company step up to help Eden Prairie food shelf

A high school badminton team, a church group and a bus company have stepped up to support a local Eden Prairie food shelf during the COVID-19 crisis.

Eden Prairie

A high school badminton team held a food drive and collected over 200 pounds of food last month. On a recent Sunday morning, members from an Eden Prairie church gathered in their parking lot while social distancing to drop off food and financial gifts for those in need. And a couple weeks ago, a local transportation company stepped up to help ensure the donations can get delivered to those who need them.

The community donations and offers for help are propping up PROP, or People Reaching out to People, a non-profit local food shelf and emergency services provider that serves those in need in the Eden Prairie and Chanhassen areas of Minnesota.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization explained on their website that for health and safety reasons they implemented changes to the way they deliver food and services that included eliminating 95% of their volunteers and pivoting to curbside service.

The change left some of their clientele without access to food delivery or pick up ability. 

In mid-April, PROP announced on their Facebook page that SouthWest Transit had begun delivering pre-packaged food boxes to clients in need who are not able to get to the facility to pick up the food assistance boxes. PROP said they were grateful for the partnership that gave them the ability to help people “where-ever they are.” 

SouthWest Transit is an independent public transit agency that operates a fleet of buses serving Chaska, Carver, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie. In March, they curtailed or suspended many of their normal routes as a result of the pandemic that reduced their ridership by 90%. A statement on their website says that they incorporated the delivery service in April to help local food shelves with food delivery to families in need. They’re also working with non-profit Bountiful Basket Food Shelf in Chaska to make similar deliveries.

During the month of April, the Eden Prairie High School Girls Badminton Team held a food drive and collected 240 pounds of food which they donated to PROP on Monday, according to a post on PROP’s Facebook page.

On the last Sunday of April, PROP posted that members of Prairie Lutheran Church answered a call to action following an online worship service asking them to gather in the parking lot of the church for a “no contact” donation drive for PROP. Several carts and bags full of supplies were collected.

In March, PROP served 450 families and distributed over 52,000 pounds of food, according to their website. PROP was launched 40 years ago on the principle of “neighbors helping neighbors,” and their website states that they have a client base of about 1,100 families. They are located at 14700 Martin Drive in the city of Eden Prairie.

Eden Prairie Mayor Ron Case issued a statement in his newsletter last week asking for the public to continue their support of PROP “given the prolonged nature of this public health crisis.” PROP said they expect an “influx of need” moving forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor’s newsletter said that the city of Eden Prairie and PROP are partnering on a yard sign drive with $3 for every sign purchased going to PROP to support their mission. The “In This Together” yard signs can be purchased at Eden Prairie Liquor’s two open locations on Den Road and West 78th Street.

“I can’t wait to see these signs on display all around Eden Prairie as a reminder of how much we’ve come together during this time, especially to help our neighbors in need,” Case said.

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