When Protests Closed Grocery Stores, See How People Made Sure Their Neighbors Didn't Go Hungry
When a school in Minneapolis put out the call to help local families in need, they never expected the community to react the way they did.
The city of Minneapolis, MN is recovering after protests fueled by the death of George Floyd. Rioting and looting forced some businesses, including supermarkets, to close over the weekend. People were worried about how they were going to get food.
A parent at Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis reached out to the school's principal to see what they could do to help get meals for local families.
Principal Amy Nelson shared a post on social media requesting 85 food kit donations for the community.
"Aldi, Target, Cub (Foods) — they were all burned out and looted," Nelson told Today. "The same with Walgreens and CVS. There's nowhere to go to buy groceries, diapers or shampoo."
Volunteers helped to sort the thousands of bags of grocery donations at Sanford Middle School on Sunday. The Sheridan Story/Facebook
The response to Nelson's call was overwhelming. That Sunday, folks from all over the region and as far as Wisconsin dropped off donations at the school, which is currently closed due to the coronavirus.
Nelson was expecting people to come by between the hours of 10:00 am to noon on Sunday, but when she arrived at 8:00 am, donations were already piling up. The principal of 20 years said she has never seen anything like it.
"I think people were looking for something to do," Nelson said. "We had countless people drive up. They were at a grocery store 25 miles away and people there were buying from our same grocery list."
Stacks of paper bags filled with groceries and hygiene products completely covered the school's front lawn, parking lot and sidewalks, and a steady stream of volunteers was required to move and sort them throughout the day.
When Nelson realized that she was not going to be able to distribute all of the food on her own, she reached out to The Sheridan Story, a local organization that works to fight child hunger. Nelson also posted an update to social media encouraging anyone who needed food to come by and pick some up.
Bags of food spread onto the school's front lawn.The Sheridan Story/Facebook
The Sheridan Story also shared some inspiring images of all of the donations on Instagram with the following caption: "As we get close to wrapping up the day, but certainly not our work, our words are few and full of love - the outpouring of community support we experienced today was… simply beautiful!"
In addition to The Sheridan Story, the school was able to provide Culinary and Wellness Services, their school's nutrition program with a variety of the non-perishable items.
"It was a very emotional day of seeing the community come together to serve those kids and families that needed to be served the most," Rob Williams, the founder of The Sheridan Story, said. "The response was from people of all backgrounds, serving people of all backgrounds. This is what we want Minnesota to be about."
People from as far away as Wisconsin showed up with donations for families in need. Katelyn Castle/Facebook