MN Hunger Initiative Blog

Acts of Kindness Checklist -MN Hunger Initiative Edition

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Acts of Kindness Checklist -MN Hunger Initiative Edition

Happy holiday from the MN Hunger Initiative, Between holiday parties, potlucks, family obligations and finding the perfect gifts, this time of year goes by very fast. For many, covering even the most basic needs – food, electricity, heat, and gas – can become a struggle. But during the holiday season, we are often reminded that it’s important to give back. For families battling food insecurity (i.e. hunger), the holidays are another reminder of what’s missing: food on the table. With school breaks leaving more kids at home, extra stress is put on families to provide additional meals throughout the week.  1 in 11 families in this Minnesota don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Hunger affects working families, children (1 in 8 in Minnesota), seniors, people with disabilities, and college students.  The holidays are one of the happiest times of the year. This year we invite you to take the time to be kind to yourself, family, friends, and people who need it the most.  The Minnesota Hunger Initiative is a group of leaders with a common mission: to increase the effectiveness of the hunger relief system throughout MN through collaboration. Learn more about our partner organization and how you can...

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Thank you, Minnesota!

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Thank you, Minnesota!

Give to the Max Day 2019 Give to the Max Day has turned into Minnesota’s giving holiday. November 14, 2019 was a special day for generous Minnesotans to give back to the causes and organizations that mean the most to them. YOU helped raised $475,000+ for our partner organizations More than 4,500 generous donors like you contributed the fundraisers A total of $21,668,705 was raised for thousands of nonprofits and schools all around MN. Give to the Max Day is over, but every day is a great day to give! Don’t forget to check out our blog post, “8 ways to give back this Thanksgiving in the Twin Cities” You’re the...

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8 ways to give back this Thanksgiving in the Twin Cities

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8 ways to give back this Thanksgiving in the Twin Cities

Happy holiday season from the MN Hunger Initiative partner organizations. 1. Sponsor a Thanksgiving dinner for a family in the Twin Cities Every $60 sponsors a Thanksgiving dinner for a family living with a life-threatening illness through Open Arms. Donate or join the Turkey Drive and make Thanksgiving joyful for neighbors in need. 2. Attend The Walk to End Hunger The Walk to End Hunger is a family-friendly fun walk presented by The Mosaic Company. Held on Thanksgiving Morning in the Mall of America, it’s a great way to start your holiday off right – giving back before you give thanks! Each year more than 5,000 walkers join together in the fight against hunger. Be a Hero – Walk to End Hunger. All registration fees and donations raised go directly to the partner organization of your choice. Register to walk for one partner organization, or walk to benefit all 10 equally 3. Eat a Thanksgiving Juicy Lucy at the 5-8 Club! Throughout the month of November, guests can visit any of the 5-8 Club’s four locations (Champlin, Maplewood, Minneapolis, and West St. Paul) to support Meals on Wheels. From November 1-30, $1 from each purchase of the Thanksgiving Juicy Lucy  or the Great Pumpkin cocktail will be donated to Meals on Wheels. You can also donate $2 to receive a $5 coupon valid for the month of December. 4. Find a project that’s right for you. Volunteer United offers a huge variety of volunteer opportunities year-round. You can also sign up for their e-newsletter and get Volunteer United updates. 5. Birthday bags for children You can help make a child’s birthday party one to remember! Pack a bag with basically anything that would make a child’s birthday party fun! 6. Project Pajama Pride You can help Family Pathways provide a bag of pajamas to women and children escaping domestic abuse. The mission project is to provide a personalized bag of pajamas for each woman and child that seek refuge at the domestic abuse shelter. These bags help women and children feel more welcomed and comfortable during their time of transition. You can donate online or email pajamaprideproject@gmail.com 7. Donate. Volunteer. Repeat. Learn more about our partner organizations and donation/volunteer opportunities this holiday season. 8. Stop by Beaningful Coffee on 370 Wabasha St. N St. Paul Bring a friend and enjoy a glass of chardonnay and a charcuterie board while supporting Neighborhood House participants. Beaningful employees have gone through adult education at Neighborhood House and are now receiving on-the-job skills training and experience in leadership, business operations, product development, customer service, interpersonal communication, and marketing. Happy Hour never tasted so...

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Featured Partner: Keystone Community Services

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Featured Partner: Keystone Community Services

The mission of Keystone Community Services is to strengthen the capacity of individuals and families to improve their quality of life. Keystone provides vital, community-based services aimed at strengthening the community, with a commitment to serving people with the greatest needs. Services are designed with community input to meet the aspirations and respond to the changing needs of those we serve. For 80 years, Keystone has been a trusted place that neighbors in St. Paul turn to when they need support or when they want to connect with their community. Access to healthy food and support services is the key to a stable household. Keystone’s food shelves and Foodmobile (a mobile food shelf) provide healthy food and stabilizing support to more than 26,000 people in the St. Paul area. Their food shelves and basic needs services help low-income families have vital supports to be stable and successful. Keystone is able to provide these vital supports in the community only because of the kindness of our community – generous supporters and hardworking volunteers – who join them in their mission to improve the quality of life for the people around us. Make an impact and join them. Learn more about Keystone, by clicking...

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Featured Partner: Open Arms of Minnesota

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Featured Partner: Open Arms of Minnesota

With Open Arms, we nourish body, mind and soul That’s the mission of Open Arms of Minnesota. It’s a simple notion: people who are sick should not be without food. Yet every day people in our community with life-threatening illnesses find themselves unable to shop or cook — and, often, without the support network to help. That’s where Open Arms comes in. Open Arms of Minnesota is a nonprofit that cooks and delivers free, nutritious meals to people living with life-threatening illnesses in the Twin Cities. They believe that food is medicine, and that their work matters to the health outcomes of their clients. With the help of over 7,300 volunteers, Open Arms will cook and deliver more than 600,000 delicious meals this year to people living with life-threatening illnesses, as well as their caregivers and dependents. Since their founding in 1986, Open Arms has relied on its phenomenal community of donors and volunteers to help nourish and sustain people living with illness in the Twin Cities. They couldn’t do the work they do in their kitchen, on delivery to clients, or at their organic farm project without the support of these individuals. Join them in making a difference in our community! You can support Open Arms by becoming a volunteer or making a donation. They have volunteer opportunities in the kitchen, on delivery, at their urban farms, and in their office. Learn more and get started...

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Featured Partner: Hunger Solutions

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Featured Partner: Hunger Solutions

One big piece of Hunger Solution’s work is to advocate and give a voice to those who are facing the challenge of hunger in our state. Below is information on one of their biggest events of the year — Hunger Day on the Hill. It’s often said that as few as seven calls from constituents is enough to get an issue on the elected official’s radar, and sometimes even enough to persuade them to your side of the issue. Hunger Solutions has seen the importance of this advocacy in their work. When the state government budget proposal threatened to end funding for the Market Bucks program, dozens of calls to lawmakers got the funding restored. Every year anti-hunger advocates gather for Hunger Day on the Hill – a one-day event where they learn about hunger issues at the State Capitol and meet with elected officials to advocate for our policy priorities. Hunger Day on the Hill is a chance to meet with our elected officials face-to-face, build relationships, and lay the groundwork for future advocacy. Join us for Hunger Day on the Hill and put ending hunger in Minnesota at the top of the Legislature’s to-do list! Thurs., March 14, 2019 10:30 am-3:00 pm St. Paul College (Theater – 235 Marshall Ave., St. Paul) Register: hungerday2019.eventbrite.com We look forward to advocating together on the Partners to End Hunger Agenda: Fully funding the Good Food Access Program Improving school breakfast Ending school lunch shaming Continued mobile food shelf funding Farm to School and early care Urban Agriculture Grant Program Hunger Free Campuses Event includes: Prepare and practice speaking on key issues Visit with your legislators (meetings will be set up for you) Light lunch provided For more information on the work the Hunger Solutions does throughout the year, visit their website...

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Effects of the Federal Government Shutdown on SNAP Recipients and Hunger Resources

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Effects of the Federal Government Shutdown on SNAP Recipients and Hunger Resources

Due to the government shutdown many people who receive SNAP to aid with their food costs will see a large gap between their benefits. When the government first shut down in late December, February SNAP benefits were sent out early to ensure that people would still receive SNAP benefits for that month — with most of them being sent out by Jan. 20. Since February benefits were sent out early, and the next month’s benefits won’t be sent out until March, SNAP households could see benefit gaps of up to 50-60 days. What this gap in benefits means is that households that receive SNAP to feed their families could go almost twice as long without food assistance. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains why SNAP benefits usually are used up quickly, and in turn how this gap could be harmful to SNAP households: SNAP benefits are not intended to cover the entire month for most households. The SNAP benefit formula assumes that families will spend 30 percent of their available cash income for food. Many households spend their SNAP benefits quickly because they can only be spent on food. Cash income from other sources is needed to pay for other expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, essential non-food items, clothing, gasoline, and car repairs. As a result, families use their SNAP benefits first to make food purchases, saving cash for other needed expenses. Across the United States about 15 million households could experience a gap in SNAP benefits of more than 40 days. More than 4 million low-income households, including 8 million people, could experience a gap of more than 50 days. In Minnesota one third of SNAP households are expected to see a 50+ day gap in payments between February and March. RESOURCES A gap in SNAP benefits will put a strain on households that already have extremely tight budgets. Below is a list of resources if you or people you know need emergency food assistance, whether it be food shelves or dining sites that provide free, hot meals. Hunger Solutions Minnesota Food Helpline: Hunger Solutions is the perfect first step if you are seeking help and don’t know where to start. They operate the Minnesota Food Helpline, a resource that assesses the caller’s situation and provides solutions to their food needs. Give them a call at 1-888-711-1151 if you need any type of help. Helpline hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Food Resources Map: Hunger Solutions also has a feature where you can type in your address to find food-related resources near you. These resources include food shelves, dining sites, stores that accept SNAP, and more. Head to the interactive map here. Loaves & Fishes Dining Sites: Loaves & Fishes operates free, no-questions-asked dining sites around the metro. Simply walk in and enjoy a hot, nutritious meal. A list of their dining sites and hours can be found here. Pillsbury United Communities Community Cafe: Pillsbury United communities offers free, hot meals in their community cafes prepared daily by experienced chefs. Community Cafe is open at PUC’s Waite House Monday-Friday 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at their Oak Park Center Tuesday-Thursday 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Food Shelves: Pillsbury United Communities also provides food to Minneapolis residents through two food shelves, located at the Brian...

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Featured Partner: Valley Outreach

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Featured Partner: Valley Outreach

Valley Outreach helps people move their lives forward through basic needs services and personalized support. Best known for their longest running program, the food shelf, they also provide clothing, comprehensive case management, financial assistance and connections to a variety of other resources. They primarily serve people in the Stillwater/St. Croix Valley area but welcome anyone who comes to them in need. As a founding partner of SuperShelf (www.supershelfmn.org), Valley Outreach is committed to innovation and greater equity in the food sector. The SuperShelf model transformed their food shelf to create a more welcoming and respectful environment with greater access to healthy food choices. The SuperShelf model is currently rolling out at a number of food shelves across the state with support from an NIH evaluation grant. There are currently eight certified locations, including Valley Outreach. The spirit of this model is reflected in the experience of the people who visit the Valley Outreach food shelf. A client of theirs recently said, “When in need, Valley Outreach is the best place to go. They have friendly, compassionate people who volunteer there. They have a great variety of groceries. I never leave feeling bad because I need to use their services.” If you would like to learn more about programs and volunteer opportunities at Valley Outreach or to donate, please visit their...

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Walk to End Hunger 2018 Recap!

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Walk to End Hunger 2018 Recap!

Thank you to everyone who supported the Walk to End Hunger this year! Whether you walked or donated — you made this spectacular event possible. Not only did we raise a ton of money, both through individual organizations and the general fund, we also spread awareness to our fellow Minnesotans about the current picture of hunger in our state. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved we were able to raise over $285,000 to fight hunger in our state. We also want to thank the nearly 2,500 participants who got up early and joined us as part of their Thanksgiving holiday to support the fight against hunger.   Go and like the Walk to End Hunger Facebook page for some event photos and to keep up to date with Walk to End Hunger news throughout the...

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Featured Partner: ICA Food Shelf

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Featured Partner: ICA Food Shelf

ICA Food Shelf is a multi-service organization serving people in the areas of Hopkins, Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Deephaven, Greenwood, and Woodland. Their work is guided by the principles of providing self-sufficiency, stability, and security to the people they serve. Partnerships with neighboring business, organizations, and congregations are also a crucial part of the work that ICA does. The services that ICA operate are wide-reaching. Their food shelf runs on a choice model, which means that people who schedule a food appointment with ICA will select the foods that them and their family eat and already know how to cook. On top of this program and other food service programs, ICA also offers employment assistance, emergency assistance, transportation and housing assistance, and free medical clinic information. If you would like to learn more about ICA’s upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and any other information, check out their...

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