It began in 2010, when children at Sheridan Elementary School in northeast Minneapolis were found taking extra food on Fridays so they could eat on the weekends.
This was the opening page of “The Sheridan Story,” 27 children served by a new opt-in weekend food program. Just five years later, it now feeds as many as 3,400 children on school year weekends.
Luther enters the picture with North Country Ford which sends staff volunteers and funds to provide food at Hamilton Elementary School in Coon Rapids. The store also joined with the Luther Family Foundation to help fund a new Ford F-250 to deliver the nonperishable food to schools.
“There are 100,000 kids in the Twin Cities who live with food insecurity,” said The Sheridan Story Executive Director Rob Williams. “They don’t always know if they’ll have food for their next meal.”
Dozens of backpacks are filled with four to five pounds of food in each and placed in open lockers to maintain confidentiality. Items include fruits, vegetables, and entrées to provide protein, Williams explains. About 80 kids at Hamilton use the system, which is voluntary and not connected to free and reduced lunch programs.
Hamilton has North Country as its community sponsor. Others may connect with an area church or synagogue, according to Williams. The nonprofit provides the food and logistics, while sponsors send the volunteers and connect to the schools.
These cover about half of the nonprofit’s costs, plus about 30 percent provided by individual donations. The remaining 20 percent is covered by grants from corporations or foundations and in-kind contributions. “There is no government funding on any level,” Williams said.
About 60 Twin Cities area schools are involved in the food effort. See thesheridanstory.com