MOORHEAD — As the most vulnerable to the coronavirus are encouraged to stay home and others are quarantined, a local group is making sure locals know how to get adequate groceries or meals.

Cass Clay Food Partners has compiled a list of resources for those who are in difficult situations.

Noelle Harden, a health and nutrition extension educator from Moorhead in quarantine after her recent travels, said she just had friends drop food off on her front steps in the past couple of days. That's one way family and friends can help each other as more people are faced with movement restrictions, she said.

However, her 15-member group is adding many options to a food resources and help list that's just getting started.

Besides delivery options, which include grocery stores and even Uber Eats that is now offering free delivery, supermarkets are also trying to help out.

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Chris Coborn, president and CEO of Coborn's Inc. that operates several Cash Wise Foods and Hornbacher's stores in Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo, has announced a policy that encourages senior citizens 60 and older and those with compromised immune systems to shop during the first hour of each day when the stores open, from 7-8 a.m. Stores here are open until 10 p.m., after which staff cleans and stocks.

In a letter to customers, Coborn wrote, "We would like to provide these guests a time where the store is at its cleanest and the aisles are less crowded. I know it is a lot to ask but I would encourage our guests who do not fit into this group, to visit us after that first hour of business, if possible."

Family Fare, with several stores in Fargo and West Fargo, is also reserving two times a week for older adults, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems from 7-9 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

SpartanNash Vice President Tom Swanson, who helps operate Family Fares and other stores in nine states, also decided to close stores at midnight to allow overnight cleaning and to shut down its cafes and self-serve doughnut cases and soup and salad bars.

Walmart also changed its hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice to do overnight sanitation and restock shelves.

Area police departments are even helping in food resiliency. In Dilworth, officers will drop off groceries to the elderly or with kids at home from the Walmart store in town that offers pickup from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Police emphasized this was for Dilworth residents who would otherwise not be able to get to the store or face increased risk of contracting an illness.

Harden said many restaurants and bars, forced to be closed in Minnesota, are also offering pickup and delivery service. The closings contribute to a surplus of food at this time that can be redistributed, and it also means more refrigerated trucks and kitchens are available across the state, she said.

Harden said the Moorhead Business Association and Fargo Underground are posting regular updates on their Facebook pages and websites about meal delivery and takeout options in the two cities.

There are also several businesses in the metro that are offering free meals to kids while supplies last during the mornings or early afternoons. That's in addition to the "impressive way" local school districts are providing meals to needy students, Harden said.

To further help with food resiliency efforts, Harden and Moorhead City Councilman Steve Lindaas listened into a call earlier this week that involved cities with comprehensive food plans during "incidents and disasters."

Lindaas said he learned about a Denver food systems team that said their approach was to communicate, find funds or resources for emergency food, identify gaps and needs in the community and then repeat.

He said the immediate plan is to "communicate and connect with people about their needs." He said food pantries are also likely in need of food, funds and volunteers.

Early store times for seniors

  • Cash Wise Foods and Hornbacher's stores in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo have announced a policy that encourages seniors 60 and older and those with compromised immune systems to shop during the first hour of each day when the stores open, from 7-8 a.m. Stores here are open until 10 p.m., after which staff cleans and stocks.

  • Family Fare, with several stores in Fargo and West Fargo, is also reserving two times a week for older adults, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems from 7-9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  • Nationwide, Target has reserved the first hour of shopping every Wednesday for those over 65 years old, pregnant women and others identified by health officials as vulnerable to the coronavirus.

How to get food help

Places offering free kids' meals:

  • Granite City, 1636 42nd St. S., Fargo, starting at 11 a.m. while supplies last.

  • J.C. Chumley's, 1608 Main Ave., Moorhead, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. by pickup only while supplies last; call 218-236-7813 for more information.

  • Kittsona, 23 Eighth St. S., Fargo; delivery may be available, by calling 701-936-0608.

  • Legend's Sports Bar & Grill, 803 Belsly Blvd., Moorhead, is providing 500 bag lunches to children; visit the bar's Facebook page or call 218-477-1010 for more info.

  • Living Waters Lutheran Church, 4451 40th Ave. S., Fargo, offering meals from 8 a.m. to noon.

  • Rhombus Guys, 606 Main Ave., Fargo.

Deliveries:

  • Dilworth Police Department is offering grocery delivery to needy and elderly residents who can't make it to the local Walmart store by calling 218-287-2666 and telling them the order number, name and address. Walmart grocery pickup times are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., so deliveries would be made during that time.
  • Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo schools are offering drop-off and distribution sites. Check their websites for more information at www.fargo.k12.nd.us, www.moorheadschools.org and www.west-fargo.k12.nd.us, respectively.

  • The Moorhead Business Association and Fargo Underground are listing restaurants that have meal delivery and pickups on their Facebook pages and websites.
  • Sweet Commotion catering is offering meal delivery; text 701-541-7557 to schedule delivery.
  • Uber Eats is offering free deliveries from restaurants; download the app to use.

Food banks:

  • Great Plains Food Bank has a comprehensive list of food shelves, soup kitchens and pop-up food pantries in Cass and Clay counties; www.greatplainsfoodbank.org.
  • FirstLink's website said it can offer food program assistance, a listening ear in the stressful times and other resources 24/7 by calling 211 for residents across North Dakota and parts of Minnesota.

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