Allison O'Toole and Sarah Moberg handing out lettuce at a food distribution event

Supporting Food Programs in North Minneapolis Amid Uptick in Neighbor Visits

The Walmart, Aldi and Walgreens store closures in North Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center this spring had a profound impact on the Twin Cities community. Neighborhood food shelves and meal programs are seeing more visitors as families have fewer options for nearby and affordable groceries. On top of this, many of our North Minneapolis food shelf partners report major challenges recruiting volunteers to provide vital support for their operations.  

During the week of Juneteenth, Second Harvest Heartland CEO Allison O’Toole, board members and staff volunteered at four North Minneapolis food shelf and meal program partners. Through these visits, Second Harvest Heartland not only provided extra help, but also had conversations with partners and community members about need, capacity, resources and the racial hunger divide

“We’re listening,” said CEO Allison O’Toole. “We want to know how we can adjust our work so we can see the need and address it directly.” 

On Tuesday, Allison joined Second Harvest Heartland board members to unload food deliveries and stock the shelves at Shiloh Cares Food Shelf.

Group of volunteers posing at Shiloh Cares Food Shelf

Wednesday, Allison was joined by Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and Attorney General Keith Ellison at Food in the 'Hood at Sanctuary Haven Pantry, restocking shelves and assisting shoppers with bagging up food.

Volunteer packing food at Sanctuary Haven Pantry

Thursday morning was spent harvesting mulberries for Pillsbury United Communities’ Oak Park Community Café where Chef Deedee serves around 300 meals a night to community members.

Volunteer group posing together at Pillsbury United Communities' Oak Park Community Cafe

For the final event of the week, Second Harvest Heartland staff members and their families helped provide more than 300 families with fresh fruits and vegetables at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center’s Free Fresh Food Friday produce distribution.

Second Harvest Heartland team poses with lettuce heads at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center's Fresh Food Fridays distribution

If you’re able to give of your time this summer, we encourage people from around the Twin Cities to volunteer at food shelves and meal programs in North Minneapolis to help them meet the increased demand. Visit our community-based volunteering page to find the opportunity for you.