Like all of you, we are in mourning about George Floyd’s death. We are angry about the inequity and injustice that exists in our community. We are devastated by the destruction in our neighborhoods and across the cities. Yet, we are inspired by how community members have joined together to clean up their neighborhoods and support their fellow community members however they can. At the co-op, we’re also working hard to best meet the community needs at this time. We feel very fortunate that we’ve been able to keep our doors open and provide access to nutritious foods during a time of need.
Here’s how we’re responding the crisis in our city:
- We are donating to support the work of the Black Visions Collective.
- We’re working with leaders in the hunger relief community to formulate a plan to help where it’s needed most. Due to the incredible outpouring of food donations and supplies from community members, the conversation focused on the need for food storage, refrigeration and a long-term food distribution program that will provide food and resources to the areas that need it most as the community heals. We’re partnering with key players in the hunger relief community like Second Harvest Heartland, Minnesota Central Kitchen, The Sheridan Story and others to answer the community needs as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible.
- We’ve expanded our staff volunteer program. Traditionally, we’ve offered paid volunteer time for staff who help at 501c3 organizations. During this time, we’re offering payment to staff members who are helping with community cleanup and rebuilding.
We’re continuing these important efforts:
- We consistently donate to hunger relief organizations in the community, and have pivoted some of our programs to meet the needs during the pandemic.
- In 2020 so far, Co-op Partners Warehouse has donated over $30,000 of food to community partners such as Twin Cities Food Justice, Loaves & Fishes, First Nation Kitchen, and Sister’s Camelot.
- Groveland Food Shelf and Joyce Food Shelf pick up bakery, produce and deli donations from the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op several times a week and have been for years.
- Since the pandemic began, our commissary kitchen has been sending fresh prepared foods and shelf stable items to Loaves & Fishes.
- In April and May, Change Matters donations supported program organizations working to meet the increasing demands for food access during the pandemic: Open Arms of MN, Second Harvest Heartland, and The Sheridan Story – with almost $20,000 in donations.
- We’ve increased our equity and diversity training for all co-op employees.
- Ramping up our efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion training has been a major staff initiative this year. All employees completed a microagression and bias training earlier this year. We understand that training is an important step, but we know this work is not done and is just one part of an on-going initiative.
As we move through this crisis, your local co-op is here for you. We’ll keep working hard to support our community.