MAD DADS spreads the word, not the virus

Phil McGraw VJ Smith of MAD DADS

The group’s many services include feeding people safely during the pandemic

Summer is passing rapidly, but many families don’t have enough food. Many communities that were impacted by the riots following the murder of George Floyd were left with even larger food deserts than before. A food desert is defined as a space with limited sources of quality fruits and vegetables that are easily accessible to people at all times of day and night.

Hunger is real in food desert locations. Food isn’t available or it isn’t priced to feed large families on smaller budgets. For 21 years the MAD DADS team has grilled out in neighborhoods to connect and feed people. When people are well fed, they are more likely to make better decisions.

The MAD DADS team members grill with masks on and spread the word, not the virus! Hand washing is still a key way for individuals and families to stay safe.

The Minneapolis MAD DADS reports serving 300-500 families every other Friday in partnership with NorthPoint Health and Wellness center and Wells Fargo. They give out fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products.

Additionally, the MAD DADS team gives out bottled water each day as they walk around the streets. Sometimes it’s just the thing that someone needs to feel connected, heard, or that they matter.

It’s the same reason MAD DADS grill in so many neighborhoods—to build community and connection. Funding a BBQ costs more than $200 per event. By feeding people, they build social currency and ability to have conversations with people to get them through the ups and downs of life.

People need people to get through difficult times as well as manage the ups and down of life. MAD DADS Minneapolis hosts a men’s empowerment meeting each week and has served more than 1,725 men. Attendees received over 6,000 referrals to our partner community service programs. These 5,000 hours spent helping another human being feel connected and cared for translates into a $100,000 value. MAD DADS believes impacting a life in that moment of making a bad decision is priceless.

Hunger is a game changer. It changes your mood, it changes your mindset, and it changes the decisions that you make. Many of the people MAD DADS work with are hungry because living in a food desert makes it more challenging to keep your food budget in check.

 So MAD DADS provide food with their partners and BBQ all year long and invite neighbors to come outside and connect. They are also educating the community about the food system and how it works in our bodies. They are helping educate on how food impacts how we think, act and respond. Through these moments they are able to share their knowledge of resources and services to move families forward.

Information provided by MAD DADS and its president VJ Smith.

MAD DADS is currently in its 21st year of service, with a continued emphasis on the fight against drugs, gangs, and violence in their beloved community.