Holding the Grinch at bay — local food shelves ensure holiday baskets aren’t empty

1280x720_31127b00-ntslo“Tis the season to start wondering what you’re going to do about that bird for Turkey Day and perhaps think ahead to Christmas dinner. Here are a few places in South Minneapolis that have done some wondering and thinking right along with you on behalf of those in need.

Jericho Road Ministries and Union Gospel Mission

Jericho Road Ministries, in conjunction with Union Gospel Mission at 1628 East 33rd Street, is distributing Thanksgiving food baskets on November 18, 10 am to noon. No turkeys, but if you can handle that they have you covered for the fixings — stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams/sweet potatoes, rice, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and cake mix along with a supermarket gift card.

Jeff Noyed, director, reflects, “This is our sixth year of providing a few extra groceries at this time of year.” He notes that it provides a welcome service as the need remains a pressing concern for families. “The first priority for households realistically has to be such things as paying the rent, utilities. We want them to be able to avoid having to make certain sacrifices.”

After all, landlords by and large are not known to allow for the holiday customs that help keep families together. They want their due, period, and one month is as good as another for serving eviction notices. “Helping to put food on the table can mean less trouble and hardship keeping a roof overhead,” says Noyed.

bags-thanksgiving-336x225‘Tis also the season for coughs and sniffles. Accordingly, free flu shots will be given by Fairview staff to those picking up their food baskets. Registration has passed, but it’s expected some folk who’ve signed up will be no-shows and their baskets will be set aside on standby.

If you miss out on one of those, not to despair as no one will be turned away completely empty-handed. Jericho Road’s regular food shelf hours are from 10 am to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays and 2-6 pm other weekdays. It’s also open between 5 and 6 pm by appointment for people working business hours. Their telephone number: 612-455-1193.

Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church

Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church at 1118 South 8th Street, as of this writing, is still signing families and individuals up for the November 22 food shelves’ 10 am to 2 pm distribution of turkeys, but I wouldn’t wait long before hotfooting over there to receive this help. Relying largely on private donations, the church’s pockets aren’t exactly well-deep. They do what they can with what they have, but when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Sister Dorothy Thomason, a warmhearted soul who goes by “Mama D” to most folk, comments, “We are asking for donations, because even after the people who have signed up we still have people asking.” Which is understandable: Word can get around late, and some sort of emergency might arise, particularly an unexpected expense. There are all kinds of reasons why you can find yourself coming to the door at the last minute.

“Community contributions for the baskets are very welcome, as are clothing.” Thomason adds that Bethesda will be helping Santa out by providing food baskets for Christmas. “We are just not sure at this time how much we’ll be able to do.” Again, there’s that piece whereby those who have can aid those who have not by truly getting into the spirit of giving.

All you have to do is stop in on a Monday morning or call the answering service at 612-332 5904 to arrange stopping by. As usual, every Monday at 11 am, in addition to groceries, there’s a clothes rack that comes in quite handy this time of year, offering coats, jackets, hats, gloves and jeans.

Community Emergency Services

Saundra Holden, program coordinator at Community Emergency Services (CES), approaches the Thanksgiving distribution with a cheerful outlook. “I really enjoy it, because I feel there’s a lot of camaraderie that happens. Not only people from the community who come here every day for service, but between staff and all the volunteers that come in to help, just brought together in the spirit of what can we be thankful for.

“Especially with the volunteers who come every year and even [transport] people home with that heavy load, those who might have to walk. It’s just a real spirit of reciprocity and just building and supporting community.” She notes that CES is taking an extra step to accommodate recipients.

“We won’t have actual turkeys, but we’ll have gift cards to be able to choose, because people from diverse backgrounds have different eating habits. Not everybody’s custom is to eat turkey. We’ll also have pies for everybody.”

If you miss registration for Thanksgiving, sign-up for Christmas began Nov. 14. Community Emergency Services is at1900 11th Avenue, phone number, 612-870-1125.

Meals On Wheels

A benefit of being a senior or having a disability, Meals On Wheels (MOW) will bring the turkey, trimmings and the whole nine right to your door. Shawnda Hobson, MOW program administrator at CES, notes the same service is being provided Christmas Eve.

“Right now, I don’t know what the special Christmas dinner is, but [it] will probably be the same traditional roast turkey with stuffing,” Hobson says. It will also have the warm, welcome aspect of brightening someone’s day with the human touch.

“The delivery is special. We have families delivering. Clients might see children.” After all, even the Grinchiest bah-humbugger can relate to this heartwarming holiday gesture. “Sometimes our clients don’t have family or don’t see family as much.”

The home office of Meals On Wheels is at 1200 Washington Avenue S., Suite 380, and their phone number is 612-623-3363.


Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.