Community Action Center of Northfield (CAC)

Fulfilling our neighbors' basic needs


A open and honest letter to our community from CAC

March 18, 2020

Dearest Friends and Neighbors,

How are you doing in all of this? The pace and quantity of information throughout the past week has left all of us in a collective haze. It’s that irrational sense of loneliness even though we are all experiencing the same thing. We desire to be proactive and get ahead of the issue, but we’ve been forced into a reactionary spiral. I imagine a dog chasing his tail with aspirations of being more strategic.

So how are you? If I’m honest, I’ve had my moments where the anxiety has consumed my rational mind. I’ve looked my six month old in his blue eyes and wept openly at my inability to ensure the safety of our family. Yet these same eyes have grounded me, providing the perspective I’ve needed to hold on to the mission and calling of Community. As I’ve looked into the eyes of our community, I’ve seen a swirling cacophony of anxiety, grace, fear, and generosity. We’ve felt all those things at CAC. We are grieving and hoping in the same breath, and we’re ok with that. We are committed to the vision of community-solidarity when we mourn and when we celebrate.

CAC is running a Parking Lot Attendant, Zero-Contact, Pre-Pack Drive-Through Food Shelf Model (PLAZCPPDTFSM). Imagine a 1960’s Sonic restaurant with roller-skating carhops, only the carhops are actually social workers and they aren’t wearing roller skates. This is our strategic reaction to the tail-chasing irrationality of COVID-19. And it’s working. It’s working because it grounds us in our humanity, giving us the perspective that keeps this uncontrollable disease in its place. We are holding the gaze of our neighbors and finding security in that honest vulnerability. We are ensuring that hundreds of low-income families have safe access to healthy food.

At the guidance of medical professionals, CAC has organized a smaller volunteer force to safely continue supporting our food shelf. They are washing hands every 15 minutes and are sanitizing constantly. It is critical to the success of our community and CAC’s mission that these control measures be in full force. Implementing these control measures at scale, across hundreds of volunteers become extraordinarily difficult.

So here’s what you can do:

  • Stay home. Stay home as a rebellious act against the tyrannical aspirations of an infuriating virus.
  • Need to make amends for the guilt of stockpiling for the apocalypse? No one needs those supplies more than low-income families supported by CAC. Find peace and absolution by donating them today by clicking HERE.
  • Visit our website to learn more and even register for our volunteer list to be contacted as volunteer needs arise or as some of us step aside to rest, heal, and quarantine in the days and weeks to come. If you have healthcare expertise, janitorial skills, or sanitation supplies, we can use you immediately. Please email us ASAP at
  • We need you to be our eyes throughout the community. Safely check on those around you and work with CAC to ensure they have what they need. We are here to empower you to safely support your neighbor. If you or someone you know needs help, contact us at 507-664-3550 or email
  • You can support CAC’s efforts financially through a general contribution or to our COVID-19 Assistance Fund by clicking below.
Make A Financial Donation

It’s ok to be overwhelmed. It’s alright to be frustrated that you can’t get in front of this thing. We all feel that way and we can find solidarity if we’re open and honest with each other. Grieve, hope, mourn, and celebrate together. It is such a humbling honor to work alongside all of you.


Scott Wopata
Executive Director
Community Action Center of Northfield
(507) 581-3953 (mobile)