In May of 2009, a group of volunteers who had previously served the Hugo Community Food Shelf opened the doors of the Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf (HGNFS). HGNFS was started in response to the need of our neighbors struggling to meet their financial obligations and provide food to their families It also was critical to the community that the food shelf conduct itself with a philosophy of operational transparency and as an independent, stand-alone Food Shelf, not affiliated with any other private organization. With this in mind, and with the full support of the City of Hugo, HGNFS was developed as a non-profit 501[c]3 organization. In the early days, HGNFS served, on average, 10 households per month. Over time that average number reached 80 households per month. In December of 2012, the Hugo Community Food Shelf made the decision to close its’ doors. This left HGNFS as the remaining sole provider of food shelf service for our growing community. As a result, we have seen our clientele more than double. We now serve, on average, over 125 households per month.
Our clients tell us that our services are critical to them. They say they often must make the choice between feeding their families, making mortgage or rental payments, or paying medical bills. We believe this need for our services will continue to grow as Hugo grows. Although we have the strong support of our all-volunteer staff to meet these demands, we are quickly reaching our limits of being able to serve our families with dignity and privacy in our current facility.
The food shelf building originally was used to house the lone Hugo fire truck over 3 decades ago and is approximately 758 square feet in size. Additionally, the building has no indoor plumbing and inadequate heating and cooling from a combination window unit. The food shelf is fortunate to have many dedicated donors leaving us with well-stocked shelves. This has resulted in our space becoming cramped with waiting room and the office areas now acting as over-flow storage areas with little room for waiting family members, kids or shopping carts. Importantly, we are committed to maintaining our philosophy of allowing individuals to shop for the specific needs of their family (versus providing pre-packaged bags), and to provide walk-in shopping times (versus making appointments).