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Campus Kitchen receives grant for food security

Grocery bags filled with fresh produce, ready to be delivered to community partners.
Grocery bags filled with fresh produce, ready to be delivered to community partners.

In November, Augsburg was awarded a grant through the Minneapolis Health Department’s COVID‐19 Community Food Security Supports program, for Campus Kitchen in partnership with People’s Center and West Bank CDC!

Campus Kitchen at Augsburg is a food access program that is part of the Sabo Center. The program addresses food access on our campus and in our surrounding neighborhood. We’ve worked with our community partners in Cedar-Riverside since 2003, serving, eating, and growing food with neighbors. In March 2020, the Sabo Center launched the Neighborhood Food Initiative in partnership with M Health Fairview. The Neighborhood Food initiative brings together a variety of community partners to support collaborative approaches that increase access to healthy food in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. Our ability to quickly respond to the City of Minneapolis grant opportunity is a great example of how collaborative efforts supported by the Neighborhood Food Initiative can result in positive outcomes for the community.  

Boxes of diapers and other household supplies stacked up in the Sabo Center/Food and supply hub storage.

In response to COVID-19-driven food insecurity, Campus Kitchen has expanded our partnerships with Health Commons, West Bank CDC, and People’s Center. This summer, we began distributing food weekly to the West Bank CDC and People’s Center. We regularly receive feedback from our neighbors and partner organizations that the groceries we provide make a difference for residents’ ability to access high-quality, healthy foods. Over recent months, Augsburg’s food distribution program with West Bank CDC and People’s Center has strengthened and grown. Many households in Cedar-Riverside now see this service as a key piece of meeting their basic food needs.

In order to expand this work, we sought funds to purchase food and personal hygiene and household items, as well as refrigerators and other infrastructure to support this ongoing work. Because our program operates on a small budget, we rely primarily on recovered food items, which limits choice and thus our ability to meet residents’ specific needs. This new funding has enhanced our ability to provide our neighbors with the specific staple foods and other items that they request on a regular basis. New equipment, including shiny new refrigerators and freezers, will allow Campus Kitchen, People’s Center, and West Bank CDC to expand our respective capacities so that we can continue to work together to provide basic food and supplies to our neighbors in the long-term.