Crop-appropriate foods such as mangoes, beans, peppers and papaya were provided by Partners in Quality Care, another nonprofit that focuses its support on programs that care for young people and children. the elderly.
“The goal is to have Worthington as a site (for food distribution),” said Peter Ekadu, who helped organize the event, and connected Seeds of Justice with Partners in Quality Care. “The last one we did was like a pilot to see if there were a lot of people who would be interested and we were overwhelmed with the need.”
Ekadu is a former project coordinator with Voices for Justice, and currently does volunteer and public health work. The position and relationships of Seeds of Justice within Worthington made the partnership with them “a given”, according to Ekadu.
“They have a lot of unique connections,” he said. “It’s sort of an organization that represents the demographics of Worthington.”
Seeds of Justice informed community groups and began contacting families they knew would be eligible. They quickly had over a hundred adults on their list.
“Food insecurity is one of the things that Nobles County and many communities of color face,” said Leticia “Letty” Rodriguez, an organizer for Seeds of Justice. “So we jumped at the idea and that’s kind of how it started.”
Two weeks later, on December 18, the event took place in the cafeteria of St. Mary’s Church, which Seeds of Justice has used in the past for food drives and vaccination clinics. An estimated 522 people were served, representing more than 130 families.
Fourteen volunteers, speaking several languages, came forward to help distribute food and cross language barriers. In addition to food, masks and hand sanitizer were offered to participants. Seeds of Justice also delivered several bags of food to families who were on their list, but were unable to attend the event.
Food insecurity is an issue for many families of color, especially those that include new immigrants who may not be eligible for government assistance, Rodriguez said. There are challenges in terms of accessibility, for people who do not have both the transportation and the funds to do their shopping, as well as learning to prepare foods that may not be familiar to someone. ‘one who recently immigrated to the United States. Rodriguez said food is not always a priority for families who also have to worry about housing, transportation, other utilities and work.
“If you don’t have transportation and you have utilities and clothes and all that, then food becomes kind of like a precious commodity,” Rodriguez explained, “because you have to pay for the rest. before I can put food on the table. ”
Seeds of Justice works to help families who might not be aware of the resources available, or who might not want to access them for a multitude of reasons.
“That’s why it’s important to connect with other agencies that can let (people) know what’s going on and possibly try to connect them with food distributions, like ours or anyone (d ‘others). Said Rodriguez.
Organizers like Rodriguez and Ekadu hope this event will be the first of a regular initiative. There is currently a plan for another food distribution event to take place in mid-January, and families with children under the age of 18 who wish to be included should contact the organizers of Seeds of Justice Rodriguez (507) 202- 7573, or Aida Simon (507) 202-8475.
“We would like to continue with this,” Ekadu said. “We have distributed to over 130 families and have established that in Worthington there is still a need. “