African Food Shelf to open this summer


Program brings a taste of the Motherland to local immigrants in need.

Ethnic African food dishes such as fufu, eddoes and parboiled rice can be scooped up at a local African food shelf, debuting later this summer in the metro area. The food is free of cost and is available to seniors and single mothers struggling to meet basic needs as well as other African immigrants and refugees who make less than minimum wage.

“The goal of the project is to establish a culturally appropriate environment where African immigrants and refugees can access foods that they are familiar with, supporting them to enjoy and preserve their cultural cuisines, and provide them with [an] opportunity for personal empowerment as it promotes individual and community ownership,” noted Alice Tindi of the Center for Victims of Torture.

The Center for Victims of Torture is one of several organizations in northwestern Hennepin County that met and decided there was a real need to feed hungry African immigrants who have recently relocated to the United States. The New Neighbors/Hidden Scars Project, an initiative of the Center for Victims of Torture, organized the meetings with other area organizations.

“It was clear at these meetings that there was an unmet need for African food products in the food shelves serving northwest Hennepin County, including Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center,” noted Tindi. “As a result, the mainstream service providers, which included African-led nonprofits, as well as community leaders, unanimously agreed that this was a gap that needed to be filled; hence the formation of the African Food Advisory Committee.”

The African Food Shelf will be the first in the area to provide African cuisine, even though other food shelves offering food from other ethnic backgrounds currently exist. The advisory committee is working on the logistics of the food shelf, such as exactly where the food shelf will be located and what days and hours it will be open. The committee has determined that it will temporarily be available at the Center for Families, located at 3333 North Fourth Street in Minneapolis.

The Committee is asking for either monetary or food donations to help launch the food shelf this summer. Checks can be made payable to the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, with “For African food distribution” written on the memo line. Checks should be sent to them at 1001 East Lake St., Mpls., MN, 55407. For food donations, contact Michael Shain at 763-807-7187. For any additional questions, contact Alice Tindi at the Center for Victims of Torture, 612-436-4808, or

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