MN Hunger Initiative Blog

Featured Partner: NorthPoint, Inc.

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Featured Partner: NorthPoint, Inc.

NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc. is an independent 501 (c)(3) non-profit health and human services organization with a 48 year history of providing a broad array of programs and services designed to meet basic needs, and to promote health and self-reliance. NorthPoint, Inc. is co-located on the same campus as NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center – a Federally Qualified Health Center, providing medical, dental and behavioral health care. For over 30 years NorthPoint’s Community Food Shelf has been available to those in need.  NorthPoint’s mission is partnering to create a healthier community, and meeting basic needs for food is the first step towards health for all. Last year the food shelf distributed more than 640,000 pounds of food to more than 13,600 individuals facing food insecurity.   NorthPoint’s Community Food Shelf is participating in the state’s largest food drive, known as the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. The March Campaign continues through April 8th, so they are asking that you bring your donation to their food shelf located at 1315 Penn Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN  55411.  You can also make a secure online donation by going to www.northpointhealth.org To learn more about NorthPoint you can visit their website or Facebook page, or follow these links directly to volunteer or donate to...

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What is being done at The Capitol to fight hunger?

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What is being done at The Capitol to fight hunger?

This past Monday people from all across the state gathered at the Capitol to advocate for hunger relief in Minnesota. At the third annual Hunger Day on The Hill there were many important issues being discussed. One of the great things about this event is that it brings together people who are working towards the same goal, as Hunger Day on The Hill Speaker Vayong Moua said: “It’s not just about talking with legislators, it’s about strengthening your allyship with the people around you.” Below are the issues brought up to legislators this year at Hunger Day on the Hill. Mobile Food Shelves Mobile food shelves are a creative twist on traditional food shelves that bring the food right to the people who need it. Mobile food shelves take away the stress that can occur when trying to find transportation to a food shelf. There are currently 22 food shelves in Minnesota that are interested in starting or expanding mobile food shelves that don’t have any funding at this time. With an increasing population over the age of 65, the need for programs like mobile food shelves will continue to increase. This year at Hunger Day on the Hill lawmakers were asked to renew funding for mobile food shelves for existing and new programs. Food Shelf Funding Increase Food insecurity continues to be a burden that affects thousands of Minnesotans. Food shelf visits have increased among all age groups by 5.9 percent from 2011 to 2015, with these visits staying above 3 million visits per year for the last 5 years. In order to alleviate hunger in Minnesota, it is being asked that there be a $1 million per biennium increase in funding to food shelves. Good Food Access Fund The Good Food Access Fund was created to support the sale of healthy, affordable food to places in Minnesota that are lacking access to those foods. One of the main goals of the project is to assist places of business that are selling nutritious and affordable food in locations where it might not otherwise be available. It is estimated that 235,000 Minnesota live more than 10 miles away from a grocery store, supermarket, or supercenter. In order to keep access to healthy food in all areas of Minnesota, The Good Food Access Fund is asking for an increase in funding so that they can continue their...

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How to get involved in the March Campaign

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How to get involved in the March Campaign

What happens when the whole state comes together to advocate for and support the fight against hunger? Big things! The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign does just that by working to keep 300 food shelves across the state operating throughout the year. March is historically the month where food shelves receive the fewest donations. The campaign encourages individuals, businesses, faith communities, schools, and other organizations to support their local food shelf during the month of March. In 2016 we saw the most successful March Campaign to date, with over $7.9 million raised and 5.2 million pounds of food donated. This was raised by a variety of organizations coming together to raise money and food for their community. A number of the Minnesota Hunger Initiative partners are participating in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Here is a list of those organizations with a link to information on their food or fund drives: CEAP Family Pathways Hunger Solutions ICA Food Shelf Keystone Community Services Minnesota FoodShare Neighborhood House Northpoint Health and Wellness Center Pillsbury United Communities Second Harvest Heartland VEAP Valley Outreach Aside from donating food and money directly to the organizations, there are also many fun ways to get involved in the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Here is a list of the Partners of the Campaign and Events they have planned: CRAVE Restaurants: Minnesota FoodShare has been chosen to be the CRAVE Cares charity for the month of March. Stop into one of their six locations in Minnesota. Finnegans Brewing: 100% of beer proceeds will be benefiting the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Finnegans will also be marching with March Out Hunger in the St. Paul St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Participate in the Chef Food Fight by going to Finnegans, trying one of their dishes participating in the Chef Food Fight, going online and voting for it, and then a portion of the sales will be go to the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Wedge Community Co-op: Round up at your next trip to Wedge Community Co-op and that money will go toward the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. BOB FM: BOB FM will be putting on a Minnesota FoodShare Benefit Concert on Thursday, March 16 at Le Musique Room in St. Michael. Come see Gravel Roads and special guest Two Hicks & A Chick. 100% of the artist’s proceeds will go to the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Twin Cities Brackets for Good: Minnesota FoodShare is one of the organizations participating in the Twin Cities Brackets for Good, you can follow the action and donate online here. Schwan’s: When placing your online order with Schwan’s, you can designate a portion of your sales to go to Minnesota FoodShare. Find out more about what you can do to help the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign on their website or their Facebook...

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Featured Partner: Hunger Solutions

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Featured Partner: Hunger Solutions

Hunger Solutions Minnesota was founded in 2001 with the merging of the Minnesota Food Bank Network and the Minnesota Food Shelf Association. Since their beginning, they have grown tremendously, and their impact can be seen very easily. Their work is simple: ensuring food security for all Minnesotans. They do this through their programs that work to end hunger by strengthening Minnesota’s food shelves through funding and technical assistance, connecting organizations and individuals working to end hunger in Minnesota, and advancing fair public nutrition policies on behalf of hungry Minnesotans. Some measures of their success include: Helping over 30,000 people find food shelves and food banks, as well as assisting with SNAP enrollment through their Minnesota Food Helpline since its start in 2009. Providing over $2 million in grants to food shelves in crisis through their Food Shelf Capacity Building Program. Distributing over 12 million pounds of food to food banks in Minnesota through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Hunger Solutions is also dedicated to advocating for hunger relief in Minnesota. Hunger Day on the Hill is one way that they do just that. There will be briefings on key legislative issues relating to hunger. The event is free and open to anyone, but it is requested that you register in advance.  Here are some details about Hunger Day on the Hill 2017: Time and Date: Monday, March 13 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Location: Minnesota State Capitol 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard L’Etoile du Nord Vault (Room B15) St. Paul, MN 55155 Parking is available throughout the Capitol Complex. There is also parking available behind Hunger Solutions’ offices at 555 Park Street, St. Paul, MN 55103 You can find out more information about Hunger Solutions and Hunger Day on the Hill on their website or Facebook...

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7 questions about SNAP in Minnesota, answered

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7 questions about SNAP in Minnesota, answered

In January, Governor Mark Dayton declared it was Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education and Outreach Month. The declaration placed emphasis on the importance of SNAP education, so to follow up, we would like to provide a resource for anyone looking for information about SNAP in Minnesota. What is SNAP? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a national program created with the intend to provide support and help stretch the food budget for households who need it most. How popular is SNAP usage in Minnesota? In Minnesota there are 476,000 residents receiving SNAP benefits, that is 9% (or 1 in 12) of the population of Minnesota. Of SNAP participants, 69% are in families with children, and 33% of SNAP participants are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities. How much of the eligible population is using their SNAP benefits? Overall 66% of eligible Minnesotans are receiving their SNAP benefits, for individuals over the age of 60 the participate rate is 57%. By receiving SNAP benefits you are not taking away money from other people, the money for the program is already allocated. How do I know if I’m eligible for SNAP? SNAP eligibility is based on monthly income, expenses, and the number of people in your household. A helpful tool in finding out if you are eligible is this screening tool provided by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Click here for more information on SNAP eligibility in Minnesota or the screening tool in other languages. What’s an EBT card? The Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card is the means by which one receives their SNAP benefits. Once you have been approved to receive your benefits you will receive your EBT card in the mail within two business days. Your EBT will look just like any other debit card. Where can I use my EBT Card? Your EBT card can be used to purchase food at any of the 3,400 authorized retail locations in Minnesota. These authorized retailers include grocery stores, gas stations, and farmers markets. The card may also be used at some authorized sites for Meals on Wheels. If you would like to learn more about how SNAP benefits work at farmers markets, you can check out our post from last year on the topic. Here you can find a list of SNAP retailers by location in Minnesota. What are the benefits of enrolling in SNAP? SNAP was created to support individuals and households by supplementing some of their food budget each month. The average Minnesota SNAP participant receives $105 per month. Children who receive SNAP benefits and in turn are receiving more nutritious food are more likely to have fewer health problems, and have an easier time focusing in school. Elderly people who receive SNAP benefits are receiving more nutritious food are more likely to be able to live on their own longer and keep their independence. Receiving SNAP benefits can take a great deal of stress off of a family. In addition to the benefits already listed, SNAP benefits also help to boost the economy. Moody’s Analytics estimate that SNAP benefits have put $603 million into the economy of Minnesota, just in 2016 alone. This economic boost is due to the fact that people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford enough/nutritious food...

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Featured Partner: ICA Food Shelf

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Featured Partner: ICA Food Shelf

ICA Food Shelf serves the areas of Deephaven, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Shorewood, and Woodland. Since their start in 1971 ICA has been working toward their mission of providing hope and assistance to their neighbors in need through a variety of services. ICA’s services include: Food Distribution Program – scheduled pickup of food or, in case of emergency, a person may come to ICA for supplemental bag Walk-ins – Walk-ins at ICA will be given a supplemental bag and a future appointment will be set up Financial Assistance Program – Clients must apply, then schedule an appointment. This program assists with financial aid for rent, mortgage, and utilities. Employment Assistance – Job search support for clients of ICA. Services include: job search tools, interviewing skills, documenting work history, identifying resources for finding available employment, developing networking strategies, exploring career paths/building skills. 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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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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