NorthPoint steps up to feed the community
Minnesota ranks seventh worst in the nation for the share of residents with access to healthy foods, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. When you delve deeper into the data, it’s clear that certain regions and communities, like Hennepin County, which has significant disparities between whites and people of color, also have disparities with access to affordable, healthy foods.
NorthPoint Health and Wellness has provided food to residents of North Minneapolis for decades through a variety of programs, from a food shelf to a mobile food shelf. After two years of a pandemic and with increasing higher prices for gas and groceries, staff say they are seeing a steep increase in demand.
"Ever since Labor Day last fall, we’ve noticed every month the number of clients is ticking up as various federal and state benefits go away," said NorthPoint’s Food Program Manager Stuart Iseminger. Iseminger says that the food shelf provides groceries to 900 families (2,300 individuals) every month or more than 50 families per day. During the last two years, he’s seeing new trends:
- The ratio of Latinx, Somali, Hmong, and Native American participants has increased.
- First-time recipients have increased from 10% to 25%.
- The ratio of seniors has doubled from 6% to 12%.
NorthPoint is able to manage the demand, he said, thanks to all the people who support their food programs.
How people can help
This month, which is national Nutrition Month, NorthPoint is conducting its annual food and fund drive. “For every $25 donated, we can feed 50 families,” Iseminger said. “We also accept food and supply donations. We need just about everything, from meat and dairy products to toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food.”
During the food and fund drive, Minnesota Food Share will MATCH a portion of all dollars raised and all pounds of food collected.
"The Twin Cities — we’ve been through a tough last couple of years and there’s been a lot of bad news. What keeps me going is to see the good people turn out and do good things and support us and our work," said Iseminger.
- To donate money, just go to www.northpointhealth.org/donate.
- To donate food or personal care items, drop them off at 1835 Penn Ave. North, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.