There is a Guardian Angel in Heritage Park

January 25, 2021

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Angel M. is finding ways to reduce food insecurity in her Minneapolis neighborhood

With the COVID-19 causing major changes to our families across the nation, USI has been partnering with food banks, markets, and health organizations to ensure access to food for families in need during the epidemic.

And after conducting assessments, USI Minneapolis staff determined that food insecurity was one of the primary concerns in Heritage Park when COVID-19 began.

So, the USI Minneapolis team was able to partner with Green Garden Bakery, Free Little Kitchen, Minneapolis Nutrition Center, Twin Cities Mobile Market, and Appetite for Change to provide free food for Heritage Park residents every Saturday.

Youth working in a Green Garden Bakery booth

Angel M. has been a regular shopper on Saturdays.

Angel had been stopping by every Saturday to get additional food support so she could continue caring for her two granddaughters. As she made these regular trips, she began to notice other families in her neighborhood that regularly needed this support as well.

But instead of just informing her neighbors of USI’s food support, Angel took it to the next level.

Angel M and her two granddaughters

Bringing food security to her neighbors is just second nature for Angel and her family.

Angel and her granddaughters noticed others struggling with food insecurity in her neighborhood and discussed ways they could pay it forward.

In the beginning of her initiative, Angel would use the extra ingredients she would receive from USI’s food support and partners to create full meals for her family and neighbors. Then, after Angel was able to purchase her own car, her granddaughters suggested she reach out to Bethune Community School on how to scale her initiative.

Her granddaughters, Bethune Community School, USI, and Angel all worked together to connect to a few families who needed meals every couple of days. So, Angel began her own delivery service out of Bethune Community School to provide freshly made meals to those families in need and the neighbors whom she was already connected.

No need to re-invent the wheel.

Angel’s story is a testament to what it means to be a true neighbor. When you see a need in your community, simply building relationships with your neighbors, local organizations, and resources is the simplest way to create support.

Building strong relationships with your neighbors results in an understanding of who the natural community leaders are. Support them and cultivate their leadership skills, because their roots in the community go deep, and they know the neighborhood best.

Many families in Heritage Park are now less food insecure and on their way towards stable and thriving.

“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.” – Mr. Rogers

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