Please make a donation to the CROSS Center. Any amount is greatly appreciated.


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Cross Center of

Benton Co, MN

150 Fourth Ave.

P.O. Box 205

Foley, MN 56329


1pm-4pm, 6pm-8pm



Other Local Services

Resurrection Lutheran Church
610 County Road 2

St. Joseph, MN
Open to everyone, sells packages of fruits, vegetables, and frozen meats. 3:30 - 5:30 on Monday night -see website for schedule and prices.   



Salem Lutheran Church 90 Riverside Dr. SE, St. Cloud, MN 56329    Dates for 2016:  

Sept 12, Oct 3,

Nov 7, Dec 5.  

(same choices and prices as the St. Joe one)


 in Ramey, MN
Bethany Lutheran Church
34238  Nature Rd
Pierz, MN  56364
2nd Wednesdayof the month


$20 for each unit of food.  Bring empty containers for your food.

Questions and Answers


Who qualifies for food? Anyone in need who lives in Benton County.

What hours are you open? Mondays, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, and 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Thursdays, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

What hours do you accept donations? Please bring in donations during our open hours. The back doors are locked so please knock loudly.

May I just leave the donation at the back?  Please only make donations during open hours.  Please do not leave donations anywhere outside the buildings.

How much food do families get?  The amount of food is determined by the size of the family and the food we have on hand at the time. There are guides on the shelves that tell the amount for the size family. Some areas are “bonus” and there is no limit on those items.

What holidays/days are you closed?  The CROSS Center will normally be closed on these days: Memorial Day, Foley Fun Days – Monday, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day, New Year's Eve and Day. But on any holiday, please call to find out if we will be open.

Do you give out holiday food baskets?  No, but when we can we give out extra meat for the holidays. Using the “client choice” method of distribution we can offer a variety of foods and often during the holidays we get donations of some of the holiday type food that we can offer, such as cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving/Christmas and etc.

When do you give out the school supplies?  We give out school supplies during the month of August to children of current clients who are going to Foley Schools.

Do you need donations of School Supplies?  There is a volunteer who completes an inventory of what we have left over from the year before and then requests the needed items. Please watch the paper or posters for the list of items needed.  We also accept monetary donations for school supplies.  

Why do you only give school supplies to the Foley school children?  There are other school supplies distributed in other areas to serve most other children in other schools. Duplication of services is not a wise use of resources. We do make an exception, however, by midyear the children will need more supplies again, so at the Christmas Toy Distribution we give school supplies to any child who needs them and regardless to what school they go to.

Explain the Holiday programs.   We have two programs at Christmas time. They are the Giving Trees and the Toy Distribution. For both programs the family will need to sign up ahead of time and they can participate in both of the programs if they have children between the ages of 0 – 16. The registration for both programs starts the third or fourth week of October. The registration of the Giving Trees will end about December 1. and the Toy registration will end the Thursday before the distribution day, which is a Saturday in December.

How does the Toy Distribution work?  At the Toy Distribution, one parent will pick out the toy(s) for their child(ren). The distribution is on a Saturday in December and done at the First Presbyterian Church in Foley. The date is determined by the availability of the Church. At the time of registration, the parent is given a paper with the time they can come and the rules for the day. Toys are laid out on the tables in the fellowship hall and the parent, with a volunteer guide, will choose the toys for their children. The program is for children ages 0 – 16.

Where do the toys come from?  They are donated from the community. You may have seen the red totes around Foley, in business places to collect toys. All toys are new.

How does the Giving Tree work?  The families on the Giving Trees have made a wish list for their family of things needed other than toys. Local people select a family and buy some gifts for them. The volunteers try hard to get a good list of gift ideas for the sponsor to choose from. They also tell the family that they may not receive everything on their list. The Giving Tree gifts are given out during the month of December as the gifts come in.

What other resources do you have besides food? We have used clothing and household items that are for anyone who has need of them and they are all free. We also share information about other services in the area as needed, often using the Bridge to Benefits tool. We try to have a good selection of brochures of area services also.

How much clothing and household items may can a customer take?  There is no limit; we expect the customer to just take what they need. There is no limit on the number of visits either, new items are put out all time.

What do you need the most in the clothing and housewares area?  The children/teen sizes are the areas that are usually needed but it varies from week to week.


Why does CROSS have a Board?  Because we are a non-profit, 501(c)(3) we are required to have a Board.

What does the  CROSS Board do?  The Board is actually the “Boss” for CROSS; they run the organization. They are the ones who have to make the hard decisions, whatever that maybe, and over see the organization.

How often do they meet?   The Board is scheduled to meet 6 times a year. Sometimes when there are things that need immediate attention  they will have extra special meetings.

What do they do at the meeting?  They have an agenda, which will include the Treasure's report, Secretary minutes from the last meeting, and a Coordinator's report that all have to be read and approved by the board. They will then move on to Old business and New business and act on whatever is pending at that meeting.

Who are the board members?  All of our Board members are representatives of area Churches. The area Churches are the main support of CROSS. Board Members then are the “roots” reaching out to the Church which is the foundation that CROSS was built on. The members bring back to their Church any needs or concerns that are at CROSS and they provide CROSS the support the Church has to offer.

How could I be a board member?  You could approach your church leaders and ask to be a representative for your church on the CROSS Board. Your membership would be approved by the CROSS Board.

How many CROSS Board members are there?  At this time there are 15. Some Churches have more than one member to share the responsibility.


What hours are you open?  The CROSS Center is open on Mondays, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Thursdays,  10:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   The food shelf and the clothing/ housewares area are both open during the same hours.

What hours do you accept donations?  CROSS receives donations during the open hours.

Are the back doors always locked?  Yes, we have to keep the back doors locked all the time. Please knock loudly when you need assistance at the back doors.

May I just leave the donation at the back? Please only make donations during open hours.  Please do not leave donations anywhere outside the buildings.

What holidays/days are you closed?  The CROSS Center will normally be closed on these days: Memorial Day, Foley Fun Days – Monday, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day, New Year's Eve and Day. But on any holiday, please call to find out if we will be open.

Are you closed on any other days? Yes, when the Foley schools are closed BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER,  CROSS will be closed also.


Does CROSS accept donations of local garden produce?  Yes!  We welcome garden produce.  Not only is it a nice addition to the canned food that we offer, but the fresh produce is so full of healthy nutrients.

How can we have a food drive for the CROSS Center?  Anyone can have a food drive for the CROSS Center. All you really need is a central place to collect the donations and then advertise the food drive.  If you collect a lot of food we would like you to give us a call before you bring it in so we are able to handle the volume.

Do you accept donations of out-dated food? Yes, as long as it is in good condition.  If you wouldn't eat it yourself, then you cannot expect someone else to either.

What kind of food do you want donated?  Any non-perishable food is good.

Why would anyone have a food drive in the community if you can get more for the dollar at the food bank? Wouldn't you rather have money?  Yes, we would rather have money. Every donated dollar is able to purchase about $10 of food. However, there are advantages of the food drive too. The food bank does not always have everything available that we consider as basic food needs. We keep an updated list of needed foods on our web site.

How do you buy food at the Food Bank?  Can anyone buy food there?  The food bank is created just for food programs, so individuals cannot buy food there. The CROSS Center has a Food Manager, who does inventory and keeps track of the food needs at CROSS.  They are able to order needed food that is available from the food bank for CROSS. Once a month the Food Bank will send CROSS a bill for the food.

Where is the Food Bank?  Do you have to go get the food?  The Food Bank where our food comes from is in St. Paul. The food is trucked to us in a big truck, twice a month. CROSS usually receives 5- 8 pallets piled with food each month.  With our new double doors in the back of the building, the pallets of food are brought right into the building. That back room gets pretty crowded. A few strong volunteers come to meet the truck and in an hour or two they have the shelves full and the pallets are taken outside.

Are you giving those pallets away?  NO!  They must be returned on the next truck that comes. CROSS has to pay a hefty price for any pallets that are lost.

What food do you need?  We have a list of basic food needs that we can always use on the web site.

When do you take food donations?  We usually take food donations during our open hours, or we make special arrangements. If there is a large amount of food, then we would ask you to call ahead so we will be able to handle the volume. CROSS is open on Mondays 1-4, 6-8; and on Thursdays 10 – 3.

Does CROSS give away all the food? Is it really free?  Yes, it is all free to anyone who qualifies to receive it.

How does the food rescue program work?  Locally,  at CROSS,  the food rescue program is a partnership with Coborns grocery in Foley.  Food that would have to be thrown away because it can no longer be sold is boxed up for CROSS. Nutritious, edible food is safely shared with food shelf customers.

Who is Second Harvest?  Second Harvest is one of the food banks in Minnesota. Second Harvest Heartland’s mission is to end hunger through community partnerships. Second Harvest Heartland distributes more than 51 million pounds of food and grocery products annually to nearly 1,000 food shelves, soup kitchens, shelters and programs in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

What is Hunger Solutions?  Hunger Solutions Minnesota is a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota. They take action to assure food security for all Minnesotans by supporting agencies that provide food to those in need, advancing sound public policy, and guiding grassroots advocacy.

Who qualifies for food at CROSS?  Anyone in need who lives in Benton County.

How much food do families get?  The amount of food is determined by the size of the family and the food we have on hand at the time. There are guides on the shelves that tell the amount for the size family. Some areas are “bonus” and there is no limit on those things.

How often can a family come to the food shelf?  Once a month to get the full food shelf service.  We also provide extra fresh vegetables, fruit, milk and bread between monthly visits.


How often may I come to the CROSS food shelf?  Once a month to get the full food shelf service.  We also provide extra fresh vegetables, fruit, milk and bread between monthly visits.

Who qualifies for food?  Anyone in need who lives in Benton County.

Can I also go to another food shelf?  Yes, but not in the same month.

Can someone else pick up my food for me because I'm sick.... etc..?  Yes, but you must send with them a signed and dated note telling us that you want this person to pick up your food for you.

What happens when I come to the CROSS Center food shelf for the first time? We will do some paper work:  asking you for your ID, name, and the names and ages of each person in your household, your current address, phone numbers if you have a phone, race, income for the household, your health insurance, if you have any unusual expenses, and proof of address. Once the paper work is done, you may have to wait your turn to go into the food room and select your food. A volunteer will be with you in the food room and help you make your food selections. Once you have selected your food and it has been weighed , you will be able to box up your food and take it out the exit door.

Why do you ask about health insurance?  We feel it is important to have health insurance. If you do not have any, we suggest that you look into getting some and we can give you some direction.  Often persons just need a little encouragement.

Why do you want proof of address?  We only serve Benton County and we want proof that you do live here.  What we like for proof is a utility bill that will have your physical address and is dated so we know it is current. A driver's license does not work because in the four years you have that card you COULD  move many times.

How do I know how much food I may take?  The slip that we give you is color coded and the volunteer will help you. We also do not want you to miss something that you could have if you wanted it.

Why do you want to know if I have any unusual expenses?  Some of the unusual expenses could help you qualify for the food shelf and it could mean that there are other services around the area that could help you and hopefully we would steer you in that direction.

Why do you need to know my race?  Some foundations where we could qualify to receive grants, want to know what segments of the population we serve. That is also the reason we ask for the ages of everyone in the household.

What happens to the personal information when the CROSS intake person asks it? The information is stored in a file and is not shared with the public. One of the papers that you sign does give us a release of information. The only time that information has been shared in the past, is if there was reason to think that someone may be abusing the system. Then we share only the name and maybe the address. It would be shared with another food shelf or law enforcement.

What do I have to bring with me on my first visit to the food shelf?  You will need your ID and proof of address. What we like for proof of address is a utility bill that will have your physical address and is dated so we know it is current. A driver's license works for ID but does not work for proof of address because in the four years you have that card you COULD move many times.

Why do we have to sign our name so many times?  When you come to the food shelf to get food, you are making an agreement or contract with us. You promise that you have given us correct information, you will accept the food as it is, and that you will not sell or barter your food. You give us release of information to other agencies concerning any abuse of the system, you will not go to any other food shelf in the same month, and that you do live in Benton County.

Do I have to go through all that paper work each time I come?  No, only when you come for the first time and beginning in January of each year, the first time visit of that year.

What is a household?  Sometimes people live and eat together as a family but are not related, thus “household” is a more correct term to use instead of family. Sometimes you will see “HH”, that means household.   

My brother has to stay with me until he finds a job. May I add him to my household and get food for him too?  Or should he come separate?   We can add him as a temporary member of your household.

May I get food for my unborn baby?   No, but we would suggest that you go to the Benton County WIC office for services for your baby, which would include food for mom at this important time as well.

My children are with me on weekends, may I include them in my household to get food for them?  Usually not, but if you were the main provider for those children, then you would include them.

If I go to the food shelf in this small town, everyone will know about it. What if I see someone there who knows me?   Confidentiality is important to everyone. We try as best we can to protect that right.  The CROSS volunteers should not share any information about clients or who they see at CROSS. If someone sees you at the CROSS Center, it really is not any of their business why you are there. Our purpose is to help folks over that bump in the road. Most of us have a time like that sometime in our lives, where we just need a little help for a while, to get back on our feet.  It is an intelligent decision to know that accepting a little help now will help their family recover faster, and not accepting help may mean they may never fully recover.

How will I be treated at the CROSS Center?  The goal of the volunteers is to treat the clients with respect and as you would a friend. We want to be cheerful and helpful, treating everyone the same.

Do you have diapers?   Sometimes we do, it depends on if they are donated. We are seldom offered diapers at the food bank.

Can persons with disabilities use your services?   Yes, the building is handicapped accessible. If you are concerned about any part of using our services, please call us and discuss your concerns with us.

I am using your food shelf, it has been such a blessing to our family and we would like to do something in return. May I volunteer at CROSS?  Clients who are using our services cannot be volunteers.  It appears to be a conflict of interest.  We have tried it several times and it just has not worked.

How do I qualify to use the clothing service?  Anyone who needs clothes or household items may take whatever they can use and at no charge.  

Where do the clothes come from?  Individuals in the community donate clothes and household items to CROSS. Volunteers sort and hang the items out for display.


1. Is CROSS a non-profit?  Yes, CROSS is a 501(c)(3).  When you donate to CROSS you may request a receipt for your tax records.  The legal name is CROSS of Benton County, but locally referred to as the CROSS Center.

2. Is CROSS a religious organization?  CROSS stands for “Christians Reaching Out in Social Service”.  All of our Board members are representatives of area Churches. The area Churches are the main support of CROSS. That is as close as CROSS gets to being a religious organization. No one religion is promoted, and there are representatives of all the churches in our pool of volunteers.  It could be said that the volunteers do what they do because of their personal religion, but not to promote any religion.

3. How long has the CROSS Center existed?  The CROSS of Benton County was organized in 1982.

4. It looks like everything that is offered at CROSS is free. How can that be? Who pays for it?  Until about 2 years ago, the CROSS Center depended completely on donations. It worked because we are in a very caring, sharing community. It would still work, except our expenses have gotten higher. We have a bigger building so the utility bill is higher and we are also serving many more people now.  CROSS needs fund raisers to help support the program. Any help with fund raisers would be greatly appreciated.

5. Do you have a budget?  Yes.

6. Who pays the bills? Do you have an accountant?  CROSS board has a treasurer who keeps track of the finances and pays the bills. We have an accountant who helps us file the 990 statement each year. We have a committee of professionals who conduct an audit each year.

7. What are the expenses?  Monthly bills for utilities (heat, AC, electric), food, water (we pay double the minimum because we have two meters), telephone, dumpster, and normal office expenses. The cost of the internet service and web site are donated.

8. Do you really need a dumpster?  It helps now since we are recycling the cardboard so there is less to throw. Cardboard is from boxes that are not good enough to be used for clients to bring their food home in.  We also have plastic wrap from cases of food that must be disposed of. Much of the room in our dumpster is taken by donations that cannot be used, such as: broken or worn out appliances and other items, clothing that is soiled, worn out, or not useable (broken zippers are common). Often boxes and bags are dumped in the back of the building. It gets rained on and is all wet and musty and must be tossed. That is the number one reason we want donations to be brought in during open hours.

9. Why can’t you take furniture?   It takes a lot of room to store furniture; we would need a warehouse.  We can put notices on the bulletin board about any furniture that you would like to give away.

10. Do you really need all that building space?  Yes, the donation of all the buildings has been a real blessing. Never would we be able to provide the services to so many people in that old space.

11. The large cooler and freezer are expensive to run. Is it worth it? Does it ever get full?  We go to Cold Spring – Golden Plump for chicken. They give us a load (close to 2,000 pounds) at a time and it all fits in the freezer. We were given a large, unexpected, donation of meat from a distributor, and we would have had to refuse it if we did not have the room. We can accept large donations of produce because we have the large cooler. In the past the bakery products from Coborns would get moldy, sitting at room temperature. Now we put it all in the cooler as it comes and there is none to throw out. That large unit is a blessing for CROSS.  

12. Do you need any more volunteers?  We always seem to have a need for more volunteers. We have 3 shifts: Monday 1-4p.m., Monday 6-8p.m. and Thursday 10a.m.-3p.m. The two main areas to work, are the food area and the clothing area.  The food area position would be working directly with the client, helping them make food choices and stocking shelves. In the clothing area the position would be to sort the clothes and other things that are donated and see that the items are displayed nicely. Please bring or send us an application.