April 16, 2024

Cafecharlotte Southbeach

The View On Cooking

Four local nonprofits boost culturally specific foods at food banks

For the first time, Greater Twin Cities United Way is teaming up with three nonprofits to host an at-home volunteer event to boost the amount of culturally specific food at local food shelves.

United Way is working with CAPI, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) and Northpoint Health and Wellness to collect 2,500 food packs by April 10. As Minnesota grows increasingly diverse, nonprofits have doubled down on providing more culturally specific foods.

“Food is a big part of a culture,” said Ekta Prakash, CEO of CAPI, a Brooklyn Center-based food shelf serving mostly low-income immigrants and refugees. “We really want to raise that awareness in the community.”

Most food donated to local food shelves are items associated with white Minnesotans, despite food shelves disproportionately serving immigrants and refugees. When CAPI holds a food drive, donors often give staples like pasta, canned goods and peanut butter, Prakash said.

“That’s a big challenge for our food shelf … to bring more culturally specific food,” she added. “It has become more and more important.”

The food packs aim to increase cultural items — from Maseca corn flour and diced tomatoes for tacos to bamboo shoots and coconut milk for traditional Hmong meals.

Food shelves across the Twin Cities have also seen a surge in the number of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. CAPI served more than 9,000 people in 2020 — more than four times the usual 2,000 people a year. Many visitors are seeking help for the first time, Prakash said, as families weather COVID-related layoffs or furloughs.

“It’s not going to go away,” she said of the economic impact. “People need jobs.”

Volunteers can help by buying specific items at a grocery store and dropping them off at a pickup location. Go to uwthrive.org and click on the volunteer tab for details.

United Way, like nonprofits across the state, has reworked volunteering during the pandemic to activities done at home or virtually. Last summer, the organization moved its largest volunteer event of the year — filling thousands of backpacks with school supplies for students in need — to an at-home event.

This month, United Way also wrapped up its fifth and final round of grants from a COVID-19 fund. More than $680,000 was distributed for nonprofit operations and employee well-being. Since last March, United Way has doled out about $3 million in COVID grants for issues such as housing, food insecurity and child care.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

rn% endblock %","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/limit-signup-optimizely/start"},{"id":"limit-signup","count":12,"action":"ignore","mute":true,"action_config":"template":"% extends "grid" %rnrn% block heading_text %Youu2019ve read your 10 free articles for this 30 day period. Sign up now for local coverage you wonu2019t find anywhere else, special sections and your favorite columnists. StarTribune puts Minnesota and the world right at your fingertips. % endblock %rnrn% block last %rn parent() rn# limit Krux pixel from https://www.squishlist.com/strib/customshop/328/ #rnrnrn% endblock %","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/limit-signup/start"},"id":"meter-desktop-331","count":10,"action":"ignore","mute":false,"action_config":false,"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/meter-desktop-331/start","id":"PDA991499opt","count":9,"action":"ignore","mute":true,"action_config":false,"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/PDA991499opt/start","id":"limit","count":8,"action":"inject","mute":false,"action_config":"template":"

rnrnrnrn

rn

rn

rn rn

rn t

rn SUBSCRIBErn Already a subscriber? Log in.rn

rn

All Star Tribune readers without a Digital Access subscription are given a limited number of complimentary articles every 30 days. Once the article limit is reached we ask readers to purchase a subscription including Digital Access to continue reading. Digital Access is included in all multi-day paper home delivery, Sunday + Digital, and Premium Digital Access subscriptions. After the 1 month Premium Digital Access introductory period you will be charged at a rate of $14.99 per month. You can see all subscription options or login to an existing subscription herern

rn rn

rn

rn

rn

rn

rn","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/limit/start"},{"id":"nag","count":7,"action":"lightbox","mute":true,"action_config":{"height":null,"width":"630px","redirect_on_close":null,"template":"% extends "shell" %rnrn% block substyles %rn

rn% endblock %rnrn% block page %rn#rnrn limit - count - 1 rnrn form.flow_form_open(nextAction: 'firstSlide', null, null, '_top') rn form.btn('Save Now') rn form.flow_form_close() rnrn

rnrnrnu2022 rnrnrnrn#rn

rn

rn

You have limit - count - 1 articles left

rn

rn rn u00a0u00a0u2022u00a0u00a0rn rn

rn

rn

rn

rn Save More Todayrn

Over 70% off!

rn

rn

rn

rn

99u00a2 for first 4 weeks

rn form.flow_form_open(nextAction: 'firstSlide', null, null, '_top') rn form.button('Save Now', 'btn nag-btn') rn form.flow_form_close() rn

rn

rn% endblock %rnrn% block last %rn parent() rnrn% endblock %"},"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/nag/start"},"id":"x","count":4,"action":"ignore","mute":true,"action_config":false,"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/x/start","id":"multi-start","count":3,"action":"fly_in","mute":true,"action_config":"location":"bottom_left","slide_direction":"bottom","group_id":null,"display_delay":"0","collapse_delay":"10","template":"

rn

rn

rn

rn u00d7rn

rn

rn

From just

rn

$3.79 99u00a2 a week

rn Save nowrn

rn

rn

","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/multi-start/start"]};