03-01 food shelf gardner kk.jpg

Doug Christian with Chosen Generation Church helps Rosemary Gardner box up some items from the Channel One food shelf satellite Saturday morning. "This place is a big help, I'll tell you that," said Gardner.

We're compiling a list of places offering free food and other forms of aid during the Covid-19 closures. Check back for more listings, and send us any organizations we've missed at covidhelp@postbulletin.com.

Stay-at-home order

Confused about the shelter-in-place order? Find information on what exactly it means at https://mn.gov/governor/covid-19/faq.jsp. See the latest news from the office of the governor at https://mn.gov/governor/covid-19, and track the MN infection rate at https://www.health.state.mn.us.

Covid-19 Grocery Shopping Service -- Family Service Rochester, 507-218-3267

Olmsted County residents who are homebound and unable to shop for groceries can contact Family Service Rochester for help. FSR will match requests with a volunteer to assist with shopping. There is a fee for this service. Requests can be submitted online at familyservicerochester.org or by calling 507-218-3267 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays. Grocery shopping will be completed and delivered within 24-48 hours. Requests submitted online after 3 p.m. Fridays and before 9 a.m. Mondays may require additional time to fulfill.

Item collections

Family Service Rochester is collecting specific items for at-risk children and families. Collections begin Friday, March 20th, and will be ongoing, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Bring new, unopened toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and diapers to Family Service Rochester South, 1625 Hwy 14 E., in the entryway. For more information, call 507-287-2010.

How to donate cooked food

Channel One has established a system for receiving donations of usable and prepared foods from restaurants and bars. After employee needs have been addressed, surplus prepared and/or useable food can be dropped at Powers Ventures (2112 2nd St. SW) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, March 20-22. Donated food will be received, inspected, and processed at this location. Donations will then be distributed through Channel One. Please ensure it meets the following criteria:

• Useable food includes perishables and dry goods, refrigerated and/or frozen. Food must have an expiration date or "born on" date, have labels, and be unopened.

Restaurants and bars with questions may contact Joe Powers at Powers Ventures (joe@powersventuresmn.com) or Mark Klampe at Channel One (mklampe@channel-one.org)

How to sew masks

Olmsted Medical Center had asked volunteers to make fabric masks. If you would like to help make masks, OMC is using the pattern from Deaconess Hospital in Indiana (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hon3XuHKv0&t). However, other patterns can be used. They ask that the fabric is 100% cotton or hospital sterilization wrap (blue/green). We also ask that the masks are 9" x 6" with 7" elastic bands. To print off instructions that includes using fabric ties in place of the elastic, visit the OMC website. Drop off finished masks at Olmsted Medical Center, Marketing and Foundation Offices, 102 Elton Hills Dr., Rochester, MN, between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information contact, Kelly Owens by email (kowens@olmmed.org).

Free food

Check the Facebook pages of the organizations listed here or call ahead (especially if they're doing curbside delivery) to ensure that they're still serving free meals!

Channel One Food Bank -- 131 35th St. SE, Rochester; 507-287-2350 *

Channel One is a local food shelf and regional food bank that serves Southeast Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. They provide a five-day supply of food each month to people who live in Olmsted County and are eligible for the program, via food shelves that provide non-perishables, as well as fresh produce and personal care items. On Tuesday, March 24, Olmsted County began making deliveries to families in need. On Tuesday, March 31, local families can pick up free, thirty-pound boxes of food at various school locations. The boxes include approximately enough food to feed a family of four for a week. 9:30 – 11 a.m. or while boxes are available at Gage Elementary School, Sunset Terrace Elementary School , John Adams Middle School. 2:30 – 2 p.m. or while boxes are available at Riverside Central Elementary School, Mayo High School, Willow Creek Middle School. Limit one box per family. Drivers must pull up to the school, remain in their vehicles, and open their trunks remotely so volunteers can place the food in their trunk.

Questions? Call the COVID-19 Essential Services Resources & Referral Line at 507-328-6150 or email COVIDEssentialServices@co.olmsted.mn.us.

They're also looking for volunteers! If you're healthy and low-risk, sign up for a shift packing emergency boxes to ship out in case the food shelves need to close for any reason. Learn more at helpingfeedpeople.org.

Zumbro Valley Food Shelf -- 56817 Hwy. 63, Zumbro Falls; 507-259-1442*

Operating normal hours (Tuesdays 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and Thursday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.) as long as they have the volunteers. Shoppers are asked to prepare a 'grocery list' and wait in their cars while volunteers find the food and bring it out. Donations and volunteers are greatly appreciated. For more information, contact Pastor Colleen Hoeft at 507-259-1442 or choeft52@gmail.com.

Community Food Response -- 3945 10th Ave. NW (east of Gage School); 507-281-5061*

Open 5-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they are distributing prefilled bags outside to our clients to maintain social distance. Volunteer at www.communityfoodresponse.org/how-you-can-help.

Minnesota Food Helpline -- www.hungersolutions.org/programs/mn-food-helpline; 1-888-711-1151

Taking calls 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you're struggling to put food on the table, call 1-888-711-1151, use the chat feature on the helpline's website, or use this map to find resources near you.

Victoria's Ristorante & Wine Bar -- 7 1st Ave. SW, Rochester; 507-280-6232

Offering takeout and delivery to those who call with a child in need of a meal -- pasta with sauce or butter and fresh bread. Call 507-280-6232 or email natalievictoria@victoriasmn.com, or jason@victoriasmn.com.

Casablanca Creative Cuisine & Wine -- 1151 6th St. NW Ste. 106, Rochester; 507-288-0274

Providing free lunch to school-age children in need of a meal.

Newt’s -- 216 1/2 1st Ave. SW, Rochester; 507-289-0577

Free mac and cheese with a choice of fries or applesauce to kids in need, “no questions asked,” via curbside pickup.

Grand Rounds -- 4 3rd St SW, Rochester; 507-292-1628

From their Facebook: "If you or someone you know are concerned about being able to have lunch for any child in town due to the school closure, we are offering free kids meals no other purchase necessary, stop in, ask for a manager and we will be sure to get you a lunch."

True Smoke BBQ -- 2040 Viking Dr NW, Rochester; 507-258-1088

According to True Smoke's Facebook page, "They can simply come in and say 'No school for me today' and we will hand them a lunch. Free lunch available for children ages 5-17 please. If you need to pick up the lunches the night before please PM us with a count and we can have them ready to take home by 5 p.m. the day before." Check the Facebook page for daily kids' menus to see if the meal is something your kid will eat.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop -- 3801 Marketplace Dr. NW, Rochester; 507-226-8686

Available at the above location only, food for kids currently out of school. Call ahead for a turkey, ham, or grilled cheese sandwich with applesauce and milk.

Pi Pizza -- 3932 Market Place Dr. NW, Rochester; 507-424-3885

While supplies last, free cheese pizza to kids in need of a free meal. And from their Facebook: "For our fellow restaurant community. A lot of you were laid off this past week, and many restaurants have completely shut down. Show your paystub and get our employee discount of 50% off."

Toppers Pizza (east location) -- 1217 Marion Rd. SE, Ste 700, Rochester; 507-281-4545

Offering free, small one-topping pizzas for any student that needs it, Monday - Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., through March 31st(at least.) Call ahead and ask for a "student lunch."

Pho Chau -- 1014 N Broadway Ave., Rochester; 507-281-3342

Free bowl of rice noodle soup to anyone in need, 1:30-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. One per person. Call ahead.

Saturday Noon Meals at Christ United Methodist Church -- 400 5th Ave. SW, Rochester; 507-289-4019

The church will be providing lunches to go. 12 p.m. Saturdays at the 5th Avenue entrance.

Riverside Elementary -- 506 5th Ave. SE, Rochester; 507-328-3700

Front entrance drop-off loop. Drive-up meals served free to children ages 0-18 between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each weekday March 18-26. Meal consists of a cold lunch with breakfast included for the next day. Meals will be brought to the vehicle. If your child is on a special diet, contact Kayla Timmerman, SNS dietician, at 507-328-4250 or katimmerman@rochester.k12.mn.us.

John Adams Middle School -- 1525 31st St. NW, Rochester; 507-328-5700

Door 9, located on the northeast side of the building. Drive-up meals served free to children ages 0-18 between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each weekday March 18-26. Meal consists of a cold lunch with breakfast included for the next day. Meals will be brought to the vehicle. If your child is on a special diet, contact Kayla Timmerman, SNS dietician, at 507-328-4250 or katimmerman@rochester.k12.mn.us.

Mayo High School -- 1420 11th Ave. SE, Rochester

Door 2C, located by the staff parking lot near tennis courts.  Drive-up meals served free to children ages 0-18 between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. each weekday March 18-26. Meal consists of a cold lunch with breakfast included for the next day. Meals will be brought to the vehicle. If your child is on a special diet, contact Kayla Timmerman, SNS dietician, at 507-328-4250 or katimmerman@rochester.k12.mn.us.

Paws and Claws Pet Food -- 3224 19th St. NW, Rochester; 507-288-7226

Call ahead; Paws and Claws will help supply dog and cat food to those in need.

Meals on Wheels -- http://familyservicerochester.org/meals-on-wheels; 507-287-2010*

Sign up to receive Meals on Wheels from Family Service Rochester or -- crucially -- to deliver them over the noon hour at familyservicerochester.org or by calling 507-287-2010.

List of restaurants still offering takeout and/or delivery: We've started compiling a list of local restaurants that aren't serving free food, but are still offering meals to-go. Call ahead for curbside pickup!

Health care

Call Olmsted Medical Center's Covid-19 Triage Center at 507-292-7266. Get more information here.

Call the Minnesota Covid-19 Hotline for updates at 651-201-3920.

MNSure Health Insurance -- A special emergency enrollment period is open between March 23 and April 21. If you do not have health insurance, register now at www.mnsure.org.

Telehealth Counseling Services -- Family Service Rochester, 507-287-2010

In response to the Covid 19 pandemic (and increased anxiety and stress related to it), Family Service Rochester has launched new telehealth counseling services, which you can schedule by calling 507-287-2010. After filling out a couple of online forms, you'll use your smartphone, laptop, or tablet to talk to a mental health professional.

Minnesota Department of Health Mental Well-being resources -- Check out https://www.health.state.mn.us for ways to support your mental health during the Covid-19 crisis, tips to reduce anxiety, and how to respond if someone near you has a mental crisis.

Where to donate blood:

Red Cross 1-800­-733-2767 or redcrossblood.org to see and schedule an appointment.

American Legion -- 108 First Ave. South, Pine Island; 1-800­-733-2767

Appointments available between 1 and 7 p.m. Friday, March 20. See redcrossblood.org for more.

Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Sites -- Hilton Building, Main Floor, 200 First St. SW, Rochester or Saint Marys Campus Joseph Building, Main Floor, 1216 Second St. SW, Rochester; make an appointment at 507-284-4475 or email at donateblood@mayo.edu.

See more drives here; call ahead to ensure any neighborhood drives you would like to attend are open to the public.

Practicing Resilience in Community -- 12:30 p.m. weekdays.

Minnesota Communities Caring for Children holds daily, 30-minute, family-friendly practice of resilience, M-F at 12:30 p.m. on Zoom (virtual video meetings). Join any day you are available using one of the following methods:

Join using a computer or smart phone by clicking this link and following the instructions: https://zoom.us/j/145915007

Or join by phone only at: +1 312 626 6799, Meeting ID: 145 915 007

One tap mobile: +13126266799,,145915007#

Semcac Community Action Agency -- 507-864-7741 or semcac@semcac.org

Health clinics for all genders, emergency assistance with food, housing, and financial literacy, senior services, more. See more at www.semcac.org.

Individual Aid

"Items Needed in SE MN" Facebook Group -- an online connection to those in need of items like food, medication, or home goods, plus posts about those offering free food or extra items. https://www.facebook.com/groups/216026166265903/

Flatten The Curve - Rochester, MN Facebook Group -- a Facebook group for Rochester-area community news and opportunities. Join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/flattenthecurverochestermn/

United Heating and Cooling -- 4481 N Frontage Rd. NW, Rochester; 507-405-5363

From their Facebook page: “If there are any elderly, disabled or otherwise immunocompromised people who do not feel safe getting groceries or supplies, please feel free to contact us directly. Time and supplies permitting, our United team would be happy to shop and bring any necessities directly to you at no charge. We can leave the items outside your door and you can use cash, check, or charge to pay.” Call 507-405-5363 or email service@united-hc.com.

Child care

Olmsted County WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) -- 507-328-7555

Continuing to provide services to eligible pregnant women, infants, and children up to age 5. Call the number above between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or go to www.co.olmsted.mn.us/OCPHS/programs/WIC.

Families First Crisis Nursery -- Main Office 126 Woodlake Dr. SE, Rochester; 507-287-2020

Overwhelmed by financial issues, illness, or loss? Families First of Minnesota offers Crisis Nursery services -- short-term care for children in Olmsted County while their parents deal with the problem. If you are an Olmsted County resident with children birth through age twelve, call 507-287-2020 to access Crisis Nursery services. After normal business hours, call 507-535-5625.

Child Care at YMCA Early Childhood Learning Centers -- The Minnesota YMCA has 500 openings for children at its 10 locations in the Greater Twin Cities and Rochester area. Parents/guardians can go to the website to register immediately or show up in the morning at an eligible location, where a Y staff person will help get them registered (typically takes 30 minutes.) Call Lindsay Azoca for more information at 507-200-4024 or email lindsay.azoca@ymcamn.org.  

Emergency Child Care -- Rochester Public Schools

Per order of Governor Walz and an expansion of the definition of “emergency worker,” beginning Monday, March 23, children of both Tier One and Tier Two of the emergency worker roles will be considered eligible for Emergency Child Care services at elementary schools in Rochester Public Schools. This service is available only to enrolled Rochester Public School students Kindergarten through age 12. Free care is available during school hours, 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Fee-based extended care is available 6:30-9 a.m. and 3:45-6 p.m. for $12/session/day/child. Fees will be invoiced after April 6.

Parents must register for this service at rochesterschools.org and provide confirmation of employment in an emergency worker role, per the document Care for Children of Families of Emergency Workers available from the Minnesota Department of Education.

For more information, call the Minnesota schools and daycares hotline at 651-297-1304.

Education, more

The Parents' Guide to Google Classroom 

This presentation should help guide you through setup, login, and assignment access.

Rochester Public Library -- 507-328-2309

Our public library recently won an award for their digital offerings, and with the building closed, you have a reason to make full use of them. Check out www.rplmn.org/research/online-resources for a full list of resources available to library cardholders. Not a cardholder? You can apply for that online, too.

Kasson Library -- 607 1st St NW, Kasson; 507-634-7615

Need books in Kasson? Order up to five with your online library account or call the number above. When they're ready to be picked up, the library will call you back. Then you can pick them up in the parking lot at noon or 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

YMCA 360 -- online exercise classes and youth programs to support the health and well-being of the community. The programs available on www.ymca360.org include popular group exercise classes like Boot Camp, Barre, Yoga, low impact programs, and youth sports classes. There are also classes for our seniors to stay active at home. Programs are available to Y members and the general community -- dozens are available now, with more planned for the rest of March and April.


Unemployment Application -- use the online system at www.uimn.org to apply for benefits and request payments. Customer service reps are available at 1-877-898-9090 to help out between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bear in mind that the wait to speak to a representative may be longer than usual.

YMCA Youth Resource Line -- Youth and young adults (age 12-24) facing eviction, unemployment, and more can call 763-493-3052 to receive referrals to YMCA and community resources based on individual needs.

United Way -- You can still reach United Way at 507-287-2000, but they recommend dialing 2-1-1, (or 1-800-535-7709 for some cell phone carriers) to be connected to the best resources in Olmsted County. Visit www.uwolmsted.org for up-to-date information about United Way (as their offices closed Thursday, March 19), or if you’re looking for ways to help, visit www.uwolmsted.org/donate or volunteer.uwolmsted.org. On Thursday, United Way also started a Covid-19 emergency relief fund -- find out more at https://www.uwolmsted.org/united-we-fight-coronavirus.

Stronger Together Business and Nonprofit Intake Form -- Collider, BrandHoot, and Rochester Rising are building a free app to support Rochester businesses. If you are a Rochester-based business or nonprofit with a specific request from the community during this time, or if you are a business or nonprofit with a business resource specific to COVID-19 to share, you can fill out this intake form.

Freelancer resources -- Here's a list of resources for freelancers, contract workers, and others who may not be eligible for benefits or unemployment because of canceled work.

Report hate speech and discrimination

From the Minnesota Department of Human Rights: If anyone is a victim of a hate crime because of fear around COVID-19, please contact the police. If anyone experienced discrimination in their job, housing, or in a public place, contact our office. We enforce the Minnesota Human Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on someone’s race, ethnicity, or other protected classes. Complete and submit this online form, email at info.mdhr@state.mn.us, or call 651-539-1133 or 1-800-657-3704. Translation and/or interpretation is available.


Chabad of Southern Minnesota -- 507-288-7500

Rochester’s Jewish resource center is connecting at-risk individuals to people who can help, delivering at-home Shabbat kits, providing quarantine kaddish services, and has online courses for those looking to stay connected to their heritage. Check out chabadrochestermn.com for more.

Christ United Methodist Church -- 507-289-4019

The church is closed, but services will continue remotely. Sunday services will be livestreamed at 9 and 11 a.m. at facebook.com/cumethodist. Find past services on YouTube or listen to the radio broadcast on KOLM 1520AM at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays. A daily devotional with Methodist pastors will occur at 8 p.m. each evening on the Facebook page.

Rochester Pentecostal Church -- 507-288-4342

Live-streams on the Facebook page Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. 

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church -- 507-289-1748

Sermons via YouTube and news via Facebook.

Redeemer Lutheran Church -- 507-289-5147

Live-streams on the Facebook page Wednesdays at 4:15 p.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m.

Zumbro Lutheran Church -- 507-288-2649

Live worship Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. at zumbrolutheran.org. Listen on the radio on KOLM (1520 AM), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church -- 507-289-1841

Online worship Sundays at 9 a.m. at gloria-dei.com. Find the latest info at www.gloria-dei.com/coronavirus.

Trinity Lutheran Church -- 507-289-1531

Weekend services at 8 a.m., Wednesday Lenten services at 12:10 p.m. on trinitylutheranchurch.org or the YouTube channel.

Berean Community Church -- 507-289-4179

Live-stream of worship at 10:20 a.m. Sundays on the Facebook page. Audio recordings will be posted at sermons.bereancc.org.

South Troy Wesleyan Church -- steaming services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays on the Facebook page. Find each Sunday’s message at southtroywesleyan.org.

Rochester Covenant Church -- Sunday worship at 10 a.m. on the Facebook page, storytime for kids on Mondays and ‘Faith and Thriving in Uncertainty’ videos Thursdays, also on Facebook and on rochcov.org.

Trinity Presbyterian Church -- Streaming services on Twitter at 9:30 a.m. Sundays.

Marion Road Christian Church -- Streaming on Facebook at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. See marionchurch.com for more information.

*Volunteer opportunity, see listing!

What's your reaction?