Itasca County Local Board Awards $22,057 in EFSP Funds

The Itasca County EFSP local board recently allocated $22,057 in food and shelter program funding to several human service agencies across the county. 

The EFSP (Emergency Food and Shelter Program) is a federal program designed to supplement and expand the work of social service agencies to help families and individuals navigate economic emergencies. Funds are used to meet basic needs, and can be used to cover the costs of served meals or groceries, or for emergency lodging, rent, mortgage, and utility assistance, or foreclosure prevention.

United Way of 1000 Lakes serves as the convener of a Local Board made up of representatives from various health and human service agencies throughout the county. The Local Board is responsible for reviewing funding applications and determining the distribution of funds.

In the last months of 2020 Itasca County received $22,057 in funding for Phase 38 of the program. Organizations receiving funding, which must meet eligibility criteria in order to apply, include The Community Cafe ($7,058), Grace House ($7,058), The Salvation Army ($5,000), and United Way of Northeastern Minnesota ($2,500). United Way of 1000 Lakes was allocated a portion of funds ($441) to help cover the cost of administering the program.

“The funding we receive from the EFSP program in Itasca County is critically important to our Buddy Backpack program, which provides weekend meal kits to food-insecure children,” said Elizabeth Kelly, Resource Development & Events Director for United Way of Northeastern Minnesota. “The pandemic has caused food prices to increase, which has made the meal kits more expensive. We are so grateful for this funding – and we know the children receiving Buddy Backpacks in Itasca County are too!”

Buddy Backpack volunteers assemble nonperishable weekend meal kits for northeast Minnesota children.

United Way of Northeastern Minnesota’s Buddy Backpack is just one example of the various programs and services that EFSP funding supports throughout Itasca County. To learn more about resources available to you and those you know, contact First Call / 211 by dialing 2-1-1 on your phone or texting your zip code to 898-211.

Are you interested in making decisions to help people in our community? United Way is searching for local leaders, particularly members of the faith community, to join the EFSP Local Board. Call 218-999-7570 or email to learn more.

About United Way of 1000 Lakes
United Way of 1000 Lakes is a leader in mobilizing the resources of individuals, companies, and government and local organizations to ignite community collaboration in support of the building blocks for a good quality of life: success in school; financial stability; access to care; and healthy lifestyle choices. United Way invites everyone to join the movement. Visit to learn more.