Keeping Family Traditions Alive With a Holiday Meal
In the early 2000’s, a small church in Minneapolis began seeing a growing need in their community. Poverty was increasing causing a ripple throughout the community of other issues, including hunger. Instead of ignoring the problems, the church took action, forming Rescue Now Services, Inc. in 2004. What began as a small on-site meal program providing nutritious, warm meals to homeless and struggling families has expanded into a food shelf and other resources to alleviate poverty in the community.
As a partner of Second Harvest Heartland, Rescue Now Services has been able to increase access to fresh food and holiday meals in NE Minneapolis. Today they have an average of 800 families signed up to use their programs this year.
“The need for our community revolves around access to food. Being part of the food rescue program and produce drop allows us to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables which our clients love and appreciate, especially those that have medical conditions that requires that they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables,” shared Bunmi Adekunle, from Rescue Now Services.
The produce distributions and fresh foods from Retail Food Rescue have become a staple at the food shelf, but this time of year the needs of the community change.
Months leading up to Thanksgiving, Bunmi and individuals at Rescue Now Services begin planning and preparing for the holiday season.
“Often times, it’s easy to wonder what the big need is, but when we hear stories about food stamps being reduced to very small amounts, we know that going to buy a turkey at the grocery store to host a family dinner is the last thing on people’s minds,” said Bunmi.
But having a holiday meal is important. In the hopes of helping keep family traditions alive, Rescue Now Services hosts a Thanksgiving meal at the meal program that serves more than 100 individuals. Just like many of our own Thanksgiving tables, they encourage seconds and often end up serving more than 200 meals to individuals that might not get a holiday meal with their families.
At the food shelf, people being to sign up for baskets including a turkey and all of the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
“We prepare 125 thanksgiving baskets for 125 families and typically get a few more turkeys to provide for some people on the waiting list,” said Bunmi.
On the day of the distribution, families line up in advance and even though there are other food shelf items available, including fresh produce, everyone is overjoyed to have the opportunity to receive a Thanksgiving meal to bring home.
Bunmi recalls one individual that really stood out at this year’s distribution.
A woman named Lenora, came to pick up her basket and was in tears, tears of joy and relief. The basket she was picking up that day would allow her to prepare a meal and take it to her sister’s. Lenora shared with Bunmi that in the last few years, she and her family had not been able to take anything to the potluck-style dinner and she always felt really bad.
“That story resonated with me because it really shows what we’re trying to accomplish at Good Works Food Shelf. As people struggle to make ends meet, we want to give them one less thing to worry about - where their next meal will come from.”
When you support Second Harvest Heartland, you’re helping provide food to agency partners, like Rescue Now Services, and change the holidays for our hungry neighbors. Learn how you can make a difference today.