Prospect Park—Glendale Townhomes residents celebrated the reopening of the Glendale Food Shelf with an evening meal, speeches and a tour of the facility on March 12 — about a year after the previous program closed.
The food shelf reopened at 92 St. Mary’s Ave. SE on March 4 with funding from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and Hennepin County. East Side Neighborhood Services (ESNS) will run the program with two part-time staff members, including food shelf Director Melanie Richie.
The Glendale Residents’ Organization, which ran the former food shelf and provided other services at the housing complex, was closed last year and investigated for improper withdrawals from food shelf accounts.
While the previous program served anyone from the community, the reopened food shelf is just for Glendale residents, Richie said. ESNS aims to serve about 150 families per month; residents can receive 15 pounds of food per monthly visit, she said.
The MPHA approached the nonprofit human services agency ESNS in mid-2008 to see if they could help restart the food shelf, said Susan McCauley, associate director of ESNS, who said it took the better part of a year to reboot the program. In addition to securing funding from MPHA and Hennepin County, the process involved negotiating with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and MPHA to secure space owned by the two organizations for the food shelf and other ESNS programs that had been operating in the community.
The MPHA and Hennepin County will split the majority of the shelf’s $114,000 budget for the coming year, but $12,000 of it is set to come from the community, including a group of local churches that has committed to raising the funds, McCauley said. Hennepin County’s $35,000 contribution is only for food purchases, while the MPHA will cover a variety of operating expenses, along with making an in-kind contribution of the food shelf space, which the housing authority owns.
Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, who sponsored the budget amendment allocating county money to the shelf, thanked residents at the reopening celebration for coming forward to ask for its restoration.
McLaughlin said food shelf and food stamp systems are designed to avoid robbing people of their dignity in the process of helping them.
“We try here, and elsewhere, to preserve peoples’ dignity in difficult times,” he told The Bridge after the celebration.
Right now, ESNS has funding to run the food shelf for one year, and McCauley said in the future they’ll seek funding from Hennepin County and MPHA to continue or expand the program.
The food shelf is open Mondays and Fridays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., and Tuesdays, 2–6 p.m.