Impact and Programs
In fiscal year 2016 The Food Group's impact included:
WE REDUCED HUNGER: We partnered with 246 food shelf and hunger relief partners in 21 counties to fight hunger. Overall, we distributed 6.2 million pounds of nutritious food via our food shelf and hunger-relief programs (equivalent to 5.1 million meals).
INCREASED ACCESS TO FRESH PRODUCE: Twenty-two percent (1.4 million pounds) of all food we distributed was fresh produce—an all-time high.
PROVIDED NUTRITION EDUCATION AND OUTREACH IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY: Through our full-time Registered Dietitian we offered nutrition education and outreach to food shelf staff and clients on why and how to prepare nutritious foods in order to promote the overall well-being of clients. In 2016, our Registered Dietitian created three Chronic Disease Toolkits to educate food shelf staff and clients on how a healthy diet can prevent and manage the risk of specific chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, distributed nearly 37,000 healthy recipes to clients, and conducted various nutrition education events and recipe demonstrations at local food shelves.
ADVANCED EQUITY IN THE LOCAL HUNGER RELIEF SYSTEM: We distributed 359,057 pounds of culturally specific foods (additionally, a good portion of our fresh produce is also culturally relevant). Our work is designed to provide our local hunger relief partners with knowledge, resources, relationships, and culturally specific foods to foster a more equitable approach to their work.
PROMOTED SELF-RELIANCE FOR LOCAL FAMILIES SEEKING HEALTHY FOOD ACCESS: In 2016, we expanded Fare For All to six new sites (37 total), served 55,052 households, and distributed more than 1.4 million pounds of food. Most importantly, we provided participants with a means of achieving self-reliance and meeting their own food access needs.
SERVED SENIORS AND INDIVIDUALS WITH HEALTH ISSUES, DISABILITIES, AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS: Through Mobile Foodshelf we deliver free food to residents of subsidized housing buildings who have difficulty accessing traditional food shelves due to health, transportation, or mobility barriers. In 2016, we expanded our Mobile Foodshelf to three new sites (28 total), started offering culturally specific food options at all sites, expanded the quantity of nutritious foods distributed, and our Registered Dietitian developed nutrition standards for the program. In all, we provided 12,004 households with 333,320 pounds of food.
Guided by hunger-relief trends, our strategic plan, and our mission to fight hunger and nourish our community, we seek to break down barriers that lead to increased food security and healthy food access. We will do this by:
(1) Fighting hunger and increasing access to nutritious foods for local community members experiencing hunger.
(2) Increasing access to fresh produce for local community members experiencing hunger by growing, gleaning, purchasing, and processing fresh produce.
(3) Incorporating the value of equity across more of our work and collaborating with a diverse alliance of partners to promote equity across the hunger-relief and food access spectrum.
(4) Promoting health equity, well-being, and proactive prevention and management of chronic disease through nutrition education and outreach.
(5) Researching and planning ways to expand our programs to reach more of the state (especially in underserved urban and rural areas lacking adequate access to nutritious food).
(6) Driving systemic change, developing innovative strategies, and building more nuance into our programming to address the underlying challenges of food security and nutritious food access, especially for demographics such as seniors and children.
Community or Constituency Served
Founded more than forty years ago, in 1976, The Food Group (formerly Emergency Foodshelf Network) fights hunger and nourishes our community in partnership with more than 240 hunger relief partners including: food shelves, meal programs, mobile food shelf sites, and reduced cost grocery purchasing sites. Our core service area is the nine county metropolitan, but we’ve grown to serve partners across 21 counties (including parts of greater MN and western WI). Our hunger relief partners, in turn, serve individuals and families experiencing hunger, poverty, and those seeking free or affordable access to healthy foods.
Geographic Area Served
Our core service area is the nine county Twin Cities metropolitan area, but we've strategically expanded our services to cover 21 counties across the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and western Wisconsin over the years.