Twin Cities nonprofit provides meals to kids facing food insecurity

A local organization is stepping up to ensure no child goes hungry as COVID-19 outbreaks force some schools to shift to temporary distance learning.

The Twin Cities-based nonprofit Every Meal is answering the call after an outbreak forced the closure of some schools, including Anwatin Middle School in Minneapolis. The organization provided food to more than 100 students facing food insecurity.

"We got them 650 bags to get out to those kids in a couple of hours… it was a quick turnaround," said Rob Williams, President and Founder of Every Meal.

Williams says what they're doing is filling a gap, making sure that kids have food to last them through the weekend. The meals include a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and two grains.

"We want it to be relevant. We want it to make sense to them culturally or situationally," he said.

Now, the need is growing. Since launching in 2013, Williams says the nonprofit provides food to more than 420 different schools across the metro.

"The issue for food insecurity for kids is not an urban only issue, it’s not a suburban-rural only issue… it’s an issue everywhere. Every school in the state of Minnesota has kids facing food insecurity," he said.

It’s estimated that more than 300,000 children in the state face food insecurity – a problem further compounded by the pandemic.

"Our goal by 2028 is that every school in the state of Minnesota that wants a weekend food or backpack program has one, so that we can serve all of those kids throughout the state, no matter what school they go to."

Every Meal, formerly known as the Sheridan Story, purchases all of the food that it distributes and relies heavily on monetary donations. The nonprofit says that it has provided students with more than 4 million meals over the past eight years.