Food shelves in the Twin Cities have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for food resources since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And after the unrest following the killing of George Floyd and the destruction of the Cub Foods on Broadway Avenue, North Minneapolis has even more limited food access.
Amid the struggle and the challenges, we have seen inspiring community support. Neighbors have responded creatively to needs, starting pop-up food distributions and adding delivery options to senior highrise buildings. Partnerships have been created, like that of Camden Promise food shelf and A Mother’s Love, to increase the amount of food and frequency of distributions.
At the end of June, FFEN staff and volunteers met with Pastor Jeff Nehrbass of Gethsemane Lutheran Church where Camden Promise food shelf is located. The purpose of the meeting was to identify current and future challenges that FFEN may be able to assist with. Like with every FFEN engagement with a food shelf, these initial meetings cover several topics:
Identify ways to improve the food shelf’s operational efficiency.
Recommend the most cost-effective ways to secure quality, varied food options using FFEN’s Food Sourcing Analysis (FSA) Report.
Determine collaboration opportunities that will support the food shelf’s sustainability in the community.
Through this discussion, FFEN discovered that the food shelf needed new equipment to alleviate physical stress on volunteers who helped distribute food. They also needed an upgraded truck to pick up food rescue products from local stores. (Food rescue is a way to funnel safe, fresh products that can no longer be sold at grocery stores into the hunger relief system and out of the waste stream.)
Pastor Jeff found a gently-used refrigerated truck that would allow the organization to take advantage of food rescue products and support the food shelf’s sustainability in providing food to the community. Alerus Mortgage partnered with FFEN to provide funds toward the purchase of the truck. They generously provided $10,000 to the effort, matching FFEN’s contribution, and a final $5,000 was donated through Gethsemane Lutheran supporters. This new truck will be able to increase food resources, particularly sought-after items like fresh produce, protein, and dairy items, into the North Minneapolis community.
Learn more about the Camden Promise food shelf and their food distributions in North Minneapolis.