Volunteer Emma Westerlund was busy filling food boxes at Du Nord Community Market when we spoke. She was placing fresh produce, bags of rice, toilet paper and other essentials into packages for neighbors in need.
The Du Nord Foundation Community Market provides food and essential needs to those impacted by the pandemic, the rising cost of food, and food insecurity.
“Du Nord tries to be as barrier-free as possible,” Westerlund said. “People need help with food, it’s such a need and we want to be able to help as many people as possible.”
The market is continually growing with pallets of dried goods like beans, rice, flour, sugar and shelves stocked with coconut milk, spices, and peanut butter. Part of the market’s mission is to provide high quality, culturally relevant food and supplies, including fresh fruits and vegetables as well as hygiene and household products. Pickup is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and each box is 3 to 4 days worth of groceries for the household.
“Most orders are filled for the day and neighbors walk up and we grab their orders,” Emma said. “We have consistent people that come to the market every week, but a lot of times it’s new neighbors too. It’s my favorite part of volunteering – getting to interact with neighbors.”
The Du Nord Community Market just celebrated its two year anniversary. Emanating from the devastation of our community following the murder of George Floyd, the community market started as a way to solve the immediate food desert created by the unrest. It supplied over 3,000 neighbors with tens of thousands of pounds of food and supplies during two weeks in 2020.
The Longfellow Community Council donated thousands of dollars to the market in 2020 to support their mission in feeding thousands of our neighbors, and helping get food to those in need after the uprisings left the grocery stores, convenience shops, and area restaurants demolished or destroyed. But the need was greater than a moment, and the market is still going strong, with goals to get more people involved in the program and increase what options are available.
“I hope more people get to know about it. A lot of people come by and don’t know that we’re here and that we’ve been doing this,” Emma said. “Food, and healthy food, can be so hard to afford and hard to get.”
Scratch made, heat and serve meals are also available to order through a partnership with Minnesota Central Kitchen and Eat for Equity for busy families or individuals. Emma, a Longfellow resident, has been volunteering since last April and has filled boxes and interacted with neighbors, running their orders out to their cars or handing it to them outside of the Foundation, 3140 Snelling Ave. Right now, orders are accepted through Du Nord Foundation’s website or by calling 612-460-8123 or ordering in person. Every person who places an order has an option to customize their order, choosing what fruits, veggies, and products they need or want. Du Nord Community Market really wants people to feel cared for and make getting food as easy and as good of an experience as possible.
Du Nord is always looking for more volunteers! If you’re interested in volunteering for a packing or distribution shift, you can sign up through their website. Currently they are encouraging neighbors to ‘Party with Cause’. This initiative asks neighbors when they are inviting friends to a party/event to let them know that you are participating in PARTY WITH A CAUSE to help further the mission of Du Nord Foundation. You’ll pick up a yard sign and ask friends at your event to scan the QR code, donate, volunteer or join PARTY WITH A CAUSE themselves. You can also donate directly to the Du Nord Foundation here.