A few days into February 2012, the Sleepy Eye Water Department responded to an alarm call for a water main break at the city’s power plant.
Two to three feet of water had flooded the basement of the power plant building where the Sleepy Eye Area Foodshelf resided.
Nearly eight months later, after several good cleanings, the foodshelf has begun to make progress toward opening its doors again.
After the flood waters receded, an inspection of the power plant basement indicated that the room the foodshelf had called its home had not suffered any structural damage.
Shortly after, a meeting with the board of directors was held to decide the next steps in reopening the foodshelf. One option the board explored was to find a new space. However, the foodshelf was limited by lack of funds. A move to a new space would require monthly bills to operate. One issue with the city building was that while it was free, it required the use of stairs.
Eventually it was decided that the foodshelf should reopen in the same space. After several professional cleanings to erase the evidence of a flood and a new coat of paint, the next step was to begin moving the food in from the Masonic Temple where it had been stored since the incident.
Recently, the junior high football team from St. Mary’s helped organize and stock shelves.
According to foodshelf director Josephine Rose, there is enough donated food on hand to open the doors. However, what the foodshelf is in need of now is manpower to help stock the shelves and several more shelves to hold the food. Rose said the shelves have been ordered and should arrive soon.
The next obstacle the foodshelf has to contend with is that the street is currently under construction. A week ago the curb and gutter for the new street was put in. On Tuesday, crews began pouring the sidewalk. By the end of October the road should be paved.
Until the shelves are stocked with food and the road has been paved, Rose said she does not want to offer a specific date the foodshelf will reopen except to say that she is optimistic that it will be very soon.
“It has been a slow process, but thank God we are this far,” Rose said. “I have been so appreciative of the help we have received from so many people to get this place back in shape.”
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