VEAP is a basic needs and social services organization whose programs promote access to healthy foods, stable housing and community connections and supports. VEAP’s programs are designed address a particular need, and when used together provide hope, can help avoid a financial crisis such as loss of housing, transportation or employment. Hardships can come from a disability, job transition, or the financial and physical stresses of aging, which is why VEAP has been helping the communities of Bloomington, Richfield, Edina and South Minneapolis for 45 years.
VEAP’s programs are designed to create pathways to stability. They take appointments for up to 120 households per day, providing healthy food, access to housing stability, resources for employment and other community connections. VEAP’s licensed social workers meet with new clients, allowing for a deeper level of intake and assessment ensuring clients have access to the tools they need to stabilize their situation.
VEAP’s largest outreach is its food program which includes a food pantry, supplemental food programs for youth, food deliveries for seniors and a mobile food pantry. When a family or individual faces a crisis, having reliable access to healthy food can free up dollars in the monthly budget to allocate to housing, utilities, transportation, medication and more. Clients have told us that what they need is access to fresh and healthy foods and the main barrier to eating healthy everyday is cost.
VEAP continues to look for ways to increase healthy food access. The Summer Youth Food Program ensures that families with school aged children can visit VEAP one additional time each month. During the school year, VEAP works with local schools to provide food packs for Friday afternoon distribution to food-insecure students.
Identifying needs in the community is top priority. In March of 2018, VEAP launches a new Mobile Food Pantry to distribute fresh food at targeted locations and neighborhoods around the communities served by VEAP. Families with young children and seniors are two groups that will receive the outreach of this vital service. The emphasis will be on fresh fruit and vegetables and other perishables, meeting the needs and desires voiced by VEAP’s clients. Currently 55% of food distributed by VEAP is fresh produce, and the addition of the Mobile Food Pantry will help to increase that percentage. Additionally, this will create deeper social connections in the community.
The lack of affordable housing is one of the key drivers of financial instability for low-income residents. VEAP is a strong advocate in this area, working with various community partners and local housing coalitions to address this issue and help clients achieve dignity and housing stability.
There are many ways for the community to be involved with VEAP. For every dollar donated, VEAP is able to purchase $10 worth of food. Donations can be made at VEAP’s website, www.veap.org. Hosting a food & fund drive in your office, congregation or neighborhood is a great way to collect healthy food and support VEAP’s food programs. To register, go to https://veap.org/donate/donate-food/food-drive-registration/ . If you have a group interested in volunteering at VEAP, visit https://veap.org/donate/donate-and-do/.
VEAP’s vision is to create a thriving community where all are free to pursue their dreams. VEAP’s mission is creating pathways to stronger, more hopeful, communities through access to healthy food, housing stability and supportive services. VEAP is a non-profit organization with a staff of 18 and a strong volunteer community of over 3,000.
VEAP is located at 9600 Aldrich Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55420. Phone: 952.888.9616. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.