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Renville Co. food shelf to reopen at Olivia, Minn., store

OLIVIA -- The Renville County Food Shelf in Olivia will reopen on Wednesday, just 10 days after an arson-caused fire destroyed its contents.

The food shelf will open its doors at 10 a.m. Wednesday at 108 South Ninth Street in Olivia, or about one block north of its former location in downtown Olivia.

The new location is in the Dirk's Home Theatre building, and offers both ample space and the convenience of a downtown location.

Volunteers started erecting shelving in the new location on Friday, and have refrigerators and freezers ready as well. A Second Harvest truck will deliver the first supplies on Tuesday.

"We should be good to go,'' said Mary Schroepfer, a longtime volunteer with the food shelf.

She is among those who have spent recent days cleaning out the burned remains of the former food shelf while also searching for new supplies and a home.

The entire contents of the food shelf were destroyed by a fire discovered Sunday evening. The fire was determined to be arson. The point of ignition was the front entranceway of the food shelf.

Schroepfer attributes the ability to reopen so quickly after the fire to the outpouring of help the food shelf has received from the public. "People are really good in this town, in this community," she said.

The food shelf will be leasing space in the new location, and could remain there long-term. It could also relocate to its previous location at a later date if building owner Dave Triplett decides to rebuild.

The food shelf will resume operations on Wednesday with both refrigerated items such as eggs and produce, frozen and non-perishable dried and canned foods available.

The food shelf will maintain its previous operation hours of 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays; 5 to 7 p.m. Thursdays; and 1 to 3 p.m. Fridays.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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