When a local food bank expands their building and invests in a cardboard baler, you know they are distributing a lot of food and helping a lot of people. Channel One Regional Food Bank in Rochester, Minnesota (less than an hour from us in Harmony, MN) is doing just that. They began their operations in 1980, but recently completed a major building expansion. They serve people, food shelves, and agencies in over 14 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. During the last fiscal year, Channel One distributed over 9 million lbs. of food, an average of about 75,946 lbs. a week! Volunteers are an essential part of the work at Channel One Regional Food Bank. Last year, 2355 volunteers donated a total of 29,030 hours of service.
Channel One Food Bank has wanted to invest in a cardboard baler for a long time, but simply did not have space. Finally this last year, they were able to complete a building expansion that doubled the space in their warehouse. They were also awarded a grant from Think Mutual Bank which helped to pay for the cardboard baler. They purchased the M60CB Vertical Baler from Harmony Enterprises Inc. for their warehouse and trained their volunteers on how to properly use it.
The cardboard baler at Channel One has already made a significant difference, especially in space savings. Ed Stites, Operations Director at Channel One explained, “Before we got the cardboard baler, we would have several totes at the end of the food shelf aisle full of cardboard. We would fill up the cardboard dumpster, and then get backed up. The cardboard would have to be picked up 3-4 times a week.” Now with the M60CB cardboard baler in the warehouse, the bulky totes have been eliminated and efficiency has increased. Ed explains, “It is amazing how much the cardboard compacts. We have so much space savings because the cardboard that previously filled up seven totes worth of floor space, now fits in one cardboard bale. We anticipate our waste hauling bill to be cut in half.”
With new equipment, a newly expanded warehouse, helpful volunteers, and generous donors, the Channel One Food Bank has the perfect recipe to help people in need in Southeast Minnesota. We encourage you to give or volunteer at your local food shelf and help to fight hunger for families in your area.