MINNEAPOLIS, MN – While broadcast media focused the nation’s attention on protests in Minneapolis, most failed to capture a story of hope and compassion taking place in the same city.
The Sanford Middle School Story
Sanford Middle School launched an emergency campaign to feed neighborhood children and families who had no access to food during the initial outbreak. The school is within three blocks of the third precinct police station burned during the initial protests. Local grocery stores and pharmacies had been looted.
Amy Nelson, principal of Sanford Middle School, posted a request on social media asking for groceries to be donated at the school on Sunday, June 1. She would need enough to feed 85 families. Deep in her heart, she really hoped to receive enough between 10:00 a.m. and noon to feed 100 families.
Nelson arrived at the school two hours in advance. When she arrived, there was already more food than she had imagined. It soon became clear that the donations had just begun. Little did she realize that she was about to witness may have been the largest food drive in the history of Minnesota.
What originated as a supply problem quickly turned into a storage and distribution problem.
“Lines of cars bringing donations went for blocks and blocks in every direction … and they just kept coming.”
“Donations covered every inch of ground of our parking lot, the grass, everywhere. We had to also use a neighboring park because we didn’t have enough space here at the school to stack it up.”
Nelson reached out for help from The Sheridan Story, a locally-based NGO that provides weekend meals for children attending Sanford Elementary and dozens of other area schools.
The Sheridan Story: Fighting Child Hunger
The Sheridan Story food distribution program began in 2010 when it was discovered that children at a local school were hoarding food from the cafeteria on Fridays. Without the food they had taken, those children would have had little or nothing to eat for the weekend.
The Sheridan Story grew out of the collaboration of the Sheridan Middle School, Mill City Church, and Woodridge Church. The program began with providing bags of enough non-perishable foods to last the weekend for 27 kindergarten students on Friday afternoons.
By 2012, The Sheridan Story was providing weekend groceries for more than 300 children – the entire student population of the Sheridan school. By late 2013, the program expanded to three more schools, feeding 500 children.
Today, The Sheridan Story serves more than 10,000 children in over 300 locations in Minneapolis and other Minnesota communities. The organization is on a journey to fight the problem of child hunger in a state where more than 200,000 children suffer food insecurity.
The Food Drive Story
Lines of Cars dropping by with donations reached as long as 14 blocks, with people waiting in line for more than an hour.
The groceries donated were enough to fill 18 tractor-trailers.
- Three truckloads were distributed to local families in need.
- Four truckloads of perishable foods were donated to Loaves and Fishes, a food rescue program, and the Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary and Wellness Services.
- Four truckloads of non-perishable foods are being stored and distributed by The Sheridan Story.
- Seven truckloads have been routed to other distribution points across Minnesota.
Rob Williams, the founder and executive director of The Sheridan Story, described the food drive as …
“… a very emotional day of seeing the community come together to serve those kids and families that needed to be served the most. The response was from people of all backgrounds, serving people of all backgrounds. This is what we want Minnesota to be about.”
- Good News Network, School’s Food Drive to Help Those Affected By Looting in Minneapolis Turns Into Tsunami of Grocery Bags Deliveries
- The Sheridan Story, Official Website
- Today, Minneapolis school donates thousands of meals to local families with no access to groceries
- Instagram, courtesy of The Sheridan Story