April 1-30, 2023

The Flavors of Our Community drive is a statewide food initiative focused on increasing access to culturally specific food items.

Our community is home to many cultures with a variety of meaningful foods and flavors. It is important that our neighbors experiencing food insecurity have access to foods and spices that are familiar and significant to their culture.

In partnership with community food pantries, United Way of 1000 Lakes has developed three different pantry packs containing a variety of food items — like bamboo shoots, lentils, and Manoomin (Wild Rice) — that are essential to families served by these organizations.

We’re asking for our community’s help in collecting and assembling Pantry Packs.

Learn More

It’s Easy to Get Involved

Follow these steps to volunteer at home:

  1. Choose which Flavors of Our Community pantry pack(s) you will assemble.
  2. Sign up with pack type(s)/quantity and your preferred drop-off location.
  3. Purchase items for your selected pantry packs. Make sure to include all listed items to ensure families receive complete packs.
  4. Assemble pantry packs by placing all items into the type of bag listed within the supply list.
  5. Drop off completed pantry packs at the location you selected during signup (see drop-off locations tab below).
Sign Up

Pantry Packs Food Drive

Volunteer at home to support our neighbors experiencing food insecurity by assembling pantry packs filled with culturally specific foods and spices that will help create meaningful and nutritious meals.

The average cost per pack ranges between $10 – $20 depending on pack type. Pack items can be found at your local supermarket or grocery store – check these areas of the grocery store: Global / Ethnic Foods aisle; Spice section (size listed can be adjusted based on store availability); Canned meats / fish section; and Baking aisle.

INCOMPLETE PANTRY PACKS: Please include all listed items in each pack to the best of your ability. We acknowledge the current food shortage challenges and the potential for items to be unavailable at local stores. If items are missing, please include a note in your pack(s) listing all missing items.


1 (12 oz bag) Manoomin (Wild Rice)
1 (6 oz bag) Dried Blueberries or Cranberries
1 (15 oz can) Corn or Asparagus
1 (15 oz can) Beets or Pumpkin
1 (8 oz) Minnesota Maple Syrup
Place all items in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag


1 (15 oz can) Corn (whole kernel)
1 (14.5 oz can) Diced Tomatoes
1 (12 oz can) Jalapeño
1 (16 oz can) Refried Beans
1 (6oz can) Tomato Paste
Place all items in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag


1 (10 oz) Soy Sauce
1 (8 oz) Chili Garlic Sauce
1 (14 oz can) Baby Corn (whole)
1 (8 oz can) Bamboo Shoots
1 (14 oz can) Coconut Milk
1 (14 oz box) Rice Noodles
Place all items in a 2-gallon Ziploc bag

*Anishinaabe Staples: Foods in their most natural, whole form are of utmost importance in the Indigenous culture. When purchasing items for this pack, please do your best to select Native Harvested/Produced or organic items without additives (check the ingredient list). These items are available at your local grocers/producers. For example Red Lake Nation Foods sells berry syrups, maple syrup, jams/jellies, Manoomin whole grain and Manoomin flour (gluten free), and wild rice pancake mix.

Ways To Help

Volunteer at home. Collect items and assemble pantry packs at home. Deliver them to the United Way office (350 NW 1st Ave, Suite A, Grand Rapids) or one of the drop off locations.

Host a volunteer experience. We’re experts in leading volunteer experiences that connect your employees, customers, and stakeholders to the needs of the community. Adding a volunteer component to your next team meeting, company picnic, or corporate anniversary celebration will not only make an impact in the community, but help attendees connect with each other. Contact us at 218-999-7570 to explore the possibilities.

Host a pop-up packing project. Collect donations, and then gather your coworkers, team, or friends to spend time assembling care packages together!

Support Flavors of Our Community. Every $20 donated helps us fill one pantry pack that will be distributed to a local family through area pantries. Visit uwlakes.org or text LAKES to 26989 and select “Flavors of Our Community” from the dropdown menu.

Raise funds at your workplace, place of worship, civic group, or business. Drop off donations or mail to United Way office (350 NW 1st Ave, Suite A, Grand Rapids).

Drop Off Locations

Completed pantry packs can be dropped off at the following sites during open business hours throughout April. A collection box will be placed inside the lobby.

Children’s Discovery Museum
(2727 Pokegama Ave S, Grand Rapids)

Itasca County Family YMCA
(400 River Rd, Grand Rapids)

Rapids Brewing Co.
(214 N Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids)

Klockow Brewing Company
(36 SE 10th St, Grand Rapids)

Woodland Banks
(675 Hwy 69 S, Hill City)
(55 E Hwy 2, Cohasset)
(217 Main Ave E, Deer River)
(2610 S Hwy 169, Grand Rapids)

United Way of 1000 Lakes
(350 NW 1st Ave., Suite A, Grand Rapids)

Participating Food Pantries

Special thanks to the following organizations for their partnership in developing and distributing pantry packs through the Flavors of Our Community initiative:

Deer River Public School District
King Elementary School (500 5th St SE, Deer River, MN)
Deer River High School (101 1st Ave NE, Deer River, MN 56636)

Grand Rapids & Bigfork Public School District
Bigfork School (100 Huskie Blvd., Bigfork, MN)
Cohasset Elementary (450 Columbus Ave., Cohasset, MN)
East Rapids Elementary (1195 NE 10th St., Grand Rapids)
West Rapids Elementary (901 SW 22nd Ave., Grand Rapids, MN)
Grand Rapids High School (800 Conifer Dr., Grand Rapids, MN)
Robert J. Elkington Middle School (1000 NE 8th Ave., Grand Rapids, MN)

Itasca County Family YMCA (400 River Rd, Grand Rapids)

Minnestoa North
Itasca Campus Food Pantry (1851 E US Hwy 169, Grand Rapids, MN)

Support Flavors of Our Community

If you aren’t able to volunteer, you can still donate to our work in food security to help children and adults facing hunger in our community.

Donate Today