The Sky’s the Limit with Mobile High-rise Food Shelf


July 29, 2019 By: Abigail Reeth Category: Partner News

For nearly nine years, Terry Meka and Tiarra Cooley have distributed food at Holmes Greenway Housing in Minneapolis, Minn. While Cooley packs food bags for her homebound neighbors, Meka rides his electric wheelchair through the apartment building, delivering groceries and inviting residents to come to the temporary food shelf in the building’s community room. “This is my way to give back to the community,” Meka explained.

Together, Meka and Cooley coordinate a two-hour food distribution that serves approximately 50 percent of the residents at Holmes Greenway Housing—or anywhere from 35-50 people. “I wish more people in this building would feel free to come down,” Meka said. “I tell people it’s free food. Any little bit helps.”

The food is delivered twice a month by Mobile High Rise Food Shelf, a program started by Second Harvest Heartland’s agency partner East Side Neighborhood Services. Holmes Greenway Housing is one of 46 low-income apartment buildings that host food shelves through the program. Mobile High Rise Food Shelf improves food access for over 3,000 people across the Minneapolis area, many of whom are elderly or disabled individuals.

At Holmes Greenway Housing, Meka and Cooley not only distribute food, they also have fun with  residents. Cooley cooks potlucks for her neighbors. As Holmes Greenway Housing residents enjoy Cooley’s meals, many say they discover that healthy food can also be delicious food.  

With monthly deliveries from Mobile High Rise Food Shelf, Cooley and Meka help their neighbors at Holmes Greenway Housing access and appreciate various foods. In addition to canned and packaged products, the deliveries include fresh produce such as bananas, potatoes, and lettuce, and the food shelf often distributes meat and milk as well. “I think hunger is definitely solvable,” Meka said. “But we sometimes get used to the situation and don’t help. Help is out there, and we need more of it.”

Meka and Cooley are passionate about helping to solve hunger through the Holmes Greenway Housing Food Shelf. Greeting residents, pouring cups of hot coffee, and exchanging friendly banter, they create a welcoming, community atmosphere for their neighbors. “My favorite part is all of it,” Cooley shared. “That’s why I do it.” Echoing Cooley’s enthusiasm, Meka explained, “This is something I do out of my heart to give back.”

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