MN Hunger Initiative Blog

Walk to End Hunger 2016 Recap

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Walk to End Hunger 2016 Recap

This past Thanksgiving 2,700 people flooded the halls of the Mall of America all for the same reason: to end hunger. The annual Walk to End Hunger brings together 12 organizations that work to fight hunger and is a family-friendly event that promotes helping others. This year a total of $295,071 was raised, so thank you to everyone who walked or donated! One big highlight of this year was the increase in the number of general fund registrations and the number of general fund donations from 2015. The general fund is the money that is split between the 12 organizations. The organizations that were involved in the Walk to End Hunger were: Hunger Solutions ICA Foodshelf Keystone Community Services Loaves & Fishes The Aliveness Project Meals on Wheels Minnesota FoodShare Neighbors, Inc. Second Harvest Heartland The Food Group The Salvation Army VEAP If you would like to learn more about any of the partner organizations that participated in the Walk to End Hunger you can click on the organization’s name above. Expect information to come out near the beginning of fall on the Walk to End Hunger...

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Meals on Wheels partnering with popular Minneapolis photographer and writer!

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Meals on Wheels partnering with popular Minneapolis photographer and writer!

One of our partner organizations, Meals on Wheels, has a very exciting partnership going on right now. A few humans from Meals on Wheels are being featured on Humans of Minneapolis! But what is Humans of Minneapolis? Stephanie Glaros started photographing and interviewing people on the streets of Minneapolis in 2010, where her goal was to break down barriers and get to know people’s real stories. In 2013 this turned into her blog, Humans of Minneapolis, based off the very popular “Humans of New York” blog. Stephanie focuses on making connections between people. She works to encourage empathy and get us to recognize the things that we have in common with each other, especially with those who we normally view as different from us. Stephanie is partnering with Meals on Wheels to share the story of Meals on Wheels in a completely new way. She’s posting pictures and an accompanying story from eight people involved with Meals on Wheels. You can meet these eight humans, all with very special stories, by following Humans of Minneapolis on Facebook or the Humans of Minneapolis website. Throughout her experience interviewing and getting to know the people of Meals on Wheels, she has this to say: “There’s a lot more to the Meals on Wheels story that people aren’t aware of. There are all kinds of reasons why you might need the help from time to time. It might be a temporary situation, or it might be something more permanent. My hope is that people will realize that Meals on Wheels might be more useful to people than they realize.” We encourage you to share the photos and stories that are posted on Humans of Minneapolis, so more people can see the wonderful work Stephanie does and learn more about Meals on Wheels in the process! One of the goals of the campaign is to raise enough money to provide a holiday meal to every Meals on Wheels recipient. If you would also like to donate to this campaign you can do that...

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Featured Partner: Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis

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Featured Partner: Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis have the simple mission of working to prevent poverty, provide resources for those in poverty, and to advocate for justice in our community. They oversee 39 programs  throughout the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Region that assist people in need—including  people experiencing homelessness, children at risk, New Americans, older adults, and those with disabilities.  Through the largest public-private social services partnership in state history, Catholic Charities is working to build Dorothy Day Place in St. Paul—an innovative model to prevent and end homelessness. You can find a list of Catholic Charities programs and what they do at each of them here. Last year Catholic Charities provided more than 480,000 nights of housing and emergency shelter and served over one million meals to those in need. They couldn’t have done this without the generous efforts of their many volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for Catholic Charities check out their volunteer page, with so many programs operating there is sure to be one that fits you just right! For more information about Catholic Charities you can visit their website, and like their Facebook...

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Where to find Thanksgiving Meals and Volunteering Opportunities

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Where to find Thanksgiving Meals and Volunteering Opportunities

On a day centered around a big meal, no one should have to think about where their Thanksgiving meal is coming from. There are a number of programs throughout the Twin Cities that provide hot and cold meals on the day of Thanksgiving. There are also a lot of options if you are interested in volunteering on Thanksgiving, and giving back before you give thanks. If you’re looking for meals Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels prepares meals consisting of turkey, dressing, potatoes, peas, corn, cranberries, rolls, pumpkin pie and milk for families in need and delivers those meals to their homes on Thanksgiving Day. This service is available to all who need it – not just seniors. If you are interested in receiving Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels you can contact them at 651-699-5405 anytime after November 1. VEAP: Thanksgiving Hot Meals VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People) will be delivering hot meals between 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This is designed for seniors and people with disabilities who may be alone on the holiday, or can’t make their own meal. In order to be eligible to receive a meal you must live in Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, or South Minneapolis (South of 50th street and west of Cedar Ave.). VEAP cannot take any special food requests. There is a limit of 2 meals per household. You must be at home in order for the meals to delivered, so between 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. To register you must call VEAP at 952-888-9616. Please call by Thursday, Nov. 17. Registration will close early if the 275 meal limit is reached. If you’re looking to help Walk to End Hunger If you want to give back on Thanksgiving, but you want to do it in a fun way that gets the whole family involved, then the Walk to End Hunger is the perfect option for you. The Walk to End Hunger is a family friendly 5k walk that takes place at the Mall of America on Thanksgiving morning. All of the proceeds raised from this event will go back to charitable organizations in the Twin Cities working to fight hunger. This event is a great way to give back before you give thanks. ICA: Holiday Meal Giveaway There are two options for volunteering with ICA. Holiday Meal Sales @ Minnetonka Cub Foods. Volunteers sit at a table and hand out Turkey Certificates – these allow shoppers to donate $10 to provide one family with a turkey this holiday season. They need volunteers for the following weekends: Oct. 28 & 29, Nov. 4 & 5, Nov. 11 & 12. Bagging for tips @ Minnetonka Cub Foods. Volunteers are needed to help Cub shoppers bag their groceries. All tips will collected will go to ICA Foodshelf. This event is taking place right before Thanksgiving on Nov. 22 & 23. Open Arms of Minnesota Open Arms of Minnesota is putting on a Turkey Drive! The Turkey Drive raises funds for to provide a turkey dinner for people with life-threatening illnesses and their loved ones. $50 provides a turkey dinner and all the trimmings for a client and their loved ones to enjoy....

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Featured Partner: Open Arms of Minnesota

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Featured Partner: Open Arms of Minnesota

It’s a simple notion: people who are sick should not be without food. Yet every day people in the Twin Cities with life-threatening illnesses find themselves unable to shop or cook — and, often, without the support network to help. That’s where Open Arms of Minnesota comes in. The nonprofit organization cooks and delivers free, nutritious meals to people living with life-threatening and chronic illness in the Twin Cities. With the help of more than 5,000 volunteers, Open Arms will deliver approximately 600,000 delicious meals this year to people living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as their caregivers and dependents. The fresh, healthy meals nourish clients like Bobbie, who has cancer. “When I first started with Open Arms’ food service, I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me,” she shared. “Because my brain was so affected I just wasn’t eating very well, just TV dinners. It was just too much to figure out…cooking was out of the question. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I got my first delivery of food. What a treat! Thank you for helping me eat better for a healthier body.” This year, Open Arms will deliver its 5 millionth meal and celebrate a big milestone: 30 years of delivering nourishment and hope to people in the community living with illness. A great way to get involved this month: This November, Open Arms will continue a tradition dating back to its earliest days: delivering beautiful turkey dinners to clients on Thanksgiving. You can help sponsor these special holiday meals – $50 provides a turkey dinner and all the trimmings for a client to enjoy with their loved ones. Learn more and donate at openarmsturkeydrive.org. To learn more and get involved with Open Arms, visit:...

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Heating Assistance Programs you should know about!

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Heating Assistance Programs you should know about!

Fall is in full swing, and with this comes colder temperatures. With the harsh winters that we Minnesotans face, that monthly heating bill can be a big burden. If you’re struggling with household costs, you shouldn’t have to choose between food and paying the heating bill. Luckily, many state and federal programs have been created to aid this very issue. The Energy Assistance Program The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. This program is federally funded and does not have to be paid back, as it is offered as a grant. Grants are available for both renters and homeowners, and are based on household size, income, fuel type, and energy use. The services offered from the Energy Assistance Program may include: Payment of energy bills Help with utility disconnections or necessary fuel deliveries Education on efficient and safe use of home heating energy Advocacy with energy suppliers and human service providers on behalf of customers Repair or replacement of homeowners’ malfunctioning heating systems If you are interested, first find out if you are eligible by looking at the 2017 Maximum Energy Assistance Program Income Guidelines, then fill out an application and find your EAP provider. Cold Weather Rule The Cold Weather Rule (CWR) was created to help protect and reconnect your heat. All Electric and Natural Gas companies offer CWR protection. You can create a payment plan that will help make monthly heating bills more attainable, and prevent your heat from being turned off. You must make the CWR payment plan with your Electric or Natural Gas utility company to receive CWR protection. Different payment plans are offered based on household income and your electric or natural gas company. The Cold Weather Rule season is October 15th – April 15th. Payment plans must be established during this time. To sign up contact your electric or natural gas company and request a Cold Weather Rule payment plan. Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program This program is supported by Minnesota Energy Resources who provide funds for Community Action Program (CAP) agencies. There is no cost for customers. The following improvements are funded through this program to assist with heating costs during the winter: A standard energy audit Blower door test and assisted air sealing Side wall insulation Attic insulation Tuck under garages, foundations, crawl spaces, and rim joist insulation Outdoor venting of dryers and exhaust fans Caulking Weatherstripping Storm windows Storm doors Duct and pipe insulation in unfinished areas Emergency heating system and water heating equipment replacement In order to be eligible for this program you must meet state and federal guidelines. To find out if you qualify, contact the Community Action Program in your area. No one deserves to give up food or heat. If this issue affects you please see if you qualify for any of these...

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Featured Partner: Keystone Community Services

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Featured Partner: Keystone Community Services

Keystone Community Services is a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality social services in the community and in neighborhood gathering places to support and strengthen individuals, families and communities. Keystone has seven sites throughout the St. Paul area and serves more than 25,000 people through basic needs services, senior services and youth services. Keystone’s mission is to strengthen the capacity of individuals and families to improve their quality of life. Our Basic Needs program mission is to make sure that every person in St. Paul has access to healthy food so they can have good health and a hopeful future. In Keystone’s Basic Needs program, over 7,000 individuals per month are served and that number is continuing to grow. Faced with increasing requests for assistance, Keystone has grappled with how to keep up with the demand for food—and more importantly, how to help clients move beyond food shelf dependence to greater self-reliance. Though we are able to serve many people and give them access to the food they need, we know we still can’t reach everyone in need of healthy food with traditional services. For example, there are neighborhoods in our community with families in need of food assistance but with limited access to the food they need. For over 50% of our clients, transportation is a barrier to receiving emergency food and other essential services. Forty-two percent of our food shelf users are disabled or care giving for a disabled loved one. Healthy food gives these folks who are facing a lot of stressful challenges on a very limited income the strength to carry on day to day. It’s hard for them to physically get to us. That’s why we go to them. We launched our Foodmobile program in 2015 to provide access to food for neighborhoods where transportation to one of our food shelf sites is a barrier. The Foodmobile is an awesome “food shelf on wheels” that travels all over Ramsey County to reach folks who can’t get to a regular food shelf. It has healthy refrigerated and frozen options as well as pantry foods, and everyone can choose the foods they need. When you see our Foodmobile on the road, give us a wave! If you are interested in learning more about the Foodmobile or volunteering in this unique way visit us online at www.keystoneservices.org or call us at...

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Make The Walk To End Hunger your new Thanksgiving Day Tradition

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Make The Walk To End Hunger your new Thanksgiving Day Tradition

Want to start a new Thanksgiving tradition with your family? Gather up the crew and head down to the Mall of America Thanksgiving morning and join The Walk To End Hunger. The Walk To End Hunger is a family-friendly 5k walk where 100% of the proceeds go to organizations in the Twin Cities dedicated to fighting hunger. Walking the whole 5k is not required – we encourage you to walk whatever distance you feel comfortable doing. There will also be fun fitness activities on the second floor of the mall. We at the Minnesota Hunger Initiative know that when people come together who are working toward the same goal amazing things can happen, and that is what The Walk to End Hunger is all about! Many of the partner organizations of The Walk to End Hunger are also partner organizations of the Minnesota Hunger Initiative. You can choose to walk for one of the specific organizations and have your proceeds go to them. Or you can choose to have your money go toward the general fund, where it will be split evenly between all of the partner organizations. Although it is suggested to set a fundraising goal of $100, the registration fee is only $25. Anyone under 18 can also register to walk free of charge as a Hunger Fighter Jr. Registration is now open so start getting together your team. Visit The Walk to End Hunger website to register and to find out more information about this great...

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Minnesota FoodShare’s Harvest Campaign

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Minnesota FoodShare’s Harvest Campaign

You may have heard of Minnesota FoodShare’s March Campaign, Minnesota’s largest collective food and fund drive. But did you know that Minnesota FoodShare puts on another food drive later in the year? The Harvest Campaign is focused on getting fresh locally grown produce into food shelves, and in turn into the hands of the Minnesotans who frequent food shelves. Food shelf clients suffer disproportionately from diet-related health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.  The Harvest Campaign seeks to address these health disparities by highlighting the healthy food donation efforts of food shelf supporters, elevating the conversation around food access, and increasing the availability of produce and whole foods to food shelf users. The campaign runs August 1-September 30. It works very similarly to the March Campaign. Congregations and other groups collect fresh produce during this time, bring it to one of the participating food shelves, then report the final numbers as pounds of fresh produce. It is a simple concept that goes a long way for the ones that it impacts. If you are an interested congregation, food shelf, or just want more information on the Harvest Campaign, visit...

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Featured Partner: Meals on Wheels

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Featured Partner: Meals on Wheels

Metro Meals on Wheels is the association of 32 Meals on Wheels programs in the Twin Cities metro area. With our program partners, we lead the effort to make sure people in our community receive the nutritious meals and the human connection they need to help them live independently. We provide fresh, nutritious meals delivered directly to the homes of seniors and individuals with disabilities throughout the Twin Cities. Often times the human connection that the meal recipient has with the volunteer bringing them their meals is the only one they will have all day. When you volunteer at Meals on Wheels you know that you will be making a difference in the life of the person receiving those meals. While the most common form of volunteering is delivering meals, there are many different options for those who are interested. If you would like to learn more about volunteering for a Metro Meals on Wheels program you can do that here. To find out more about the mission of Metro Meals on Wheels or more about the organization itself you can check out their...

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