Jericho Road Ministries, under Bethlehem Urban Initiatives (BUI), has opened a food shelf at 16/33 Center, 1628 E 33rd St. in South Minneapolis. Director Jeff Noyed feels it’s been placed where it can do significant good. “It is located,” he stated, “in the heart of South Minneapolis. [Where] there’s a great need. The amount of foreclosed homes in this community [is] very high. Tight budgets mean skipping meals to make ends meet,” which is where food shelves comes in, providing a few days’ provisions.
This one is different than most in that there’s no requirement to live within a certain radius. “We offer a monthly multi-visit approach for individuals and families who may have recently faced unemployment or who are seriously seeking employment opportunities,” said Noyed. “After a person has used their one time per month at their primary food shelf, people who have need from all of South Minneapolis can use our food shelf. As a result, we may have people coming from all sides of South Minneapolis to our centrally located site.”
Taking into account the huge Mexican populace along Lake Street, he added, “We are also going to have a Hispanic food shelf with specific ethnic foods. The growth of the Hispanic community has been enormous.” Other plans include a delivery service to homebound individuals and the elderly. “We [also] hope to set up a once a month food cooperative that will be stocked in part by a community garden that is taking off. We already have one city lot for gardening with others on the immediate horizon. “
Though food banks and food shelves are taking a hit in today’s economy, funding is in place for the Jericho Road Ministries’ operation. However, as Noyed said, “[It] is very lean. John Bohnsack [development director] and I wear many hats to make things work. Being lean allows us to have lower overhead. Thus, churches, like Bethlehem Baptist, and individuals, plus a few grants and business partners should help us to make our budget. Recently, Eddington’s Restaurant did a donation [to] our food shelf of 50 cents for each bowl of soup sold. We’re a start-up organization, during tough economic times. So, we know it might be a tough uphill climb. It is worth all the effort invested because both John and I really enjoy working with folks in tougher circumstances.”
Jericho Road Ministries’ food shelf is housed in the basement of Jubilee Community Church, where the doors were opened with a May 15th open house. Hours are 2 to 6 PM weekdays and, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10AM to noon. It’s also open between 5 and 6 PM by appointment to people working business hours. Telephone: (612) 455 – 1193.