North Minneapolis residents could struggle with food for weeks to come

By Julie Siple

After a tornado ripped through their neighborhood on Sunday, north Minneapolis residents are getting a look at what remains — and what lies ahead. The area is still strewn with debris, felled trees and damaged homes. Hundreds of people are living in temporary shelters. Some don’t know when or if they’ll be able to return to their homes.

City and county officials are providing all sorts of resources, and for the moment that includes lots of free food. The city has set up several food distribution spots in the neighborhood.

minneapolis bbq.jpg Ray Camper, 28, of Minneapolis and Emma Beck, 11, of Coon Rapids, worked at the Nate Dogs cart serving free hot dogs to residents of North Minneapolis at a community barbeque held on Monday. (MPR Photo/Caroline Yang)

The Cub Foods on Broadway held a community barbecue last night and plans another from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today. The Northpoint Community Food Shelf reopened today, with a $5,000 grant from Hunger Solutions to purchase emergency food.

But the struggle for food could continue well beyond the day the food carts offering free meals pull away.

“I think there’s a daunting task ahead,” said Annette Bauer, spokesperson for the Salvation Army. She said the food shelf the Salvation Army runs in North Minneapolis sees a persistently high number of people needing help, even without a natural disaster.

“Now, you pile on top of that,” she said.

The tornado tore apart some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, an area marred by foreclosures and home to some people who were already having trouble making ends meet. As residents work to rebuild their lives, Bauer expects, it’ll be harder to make their dollars stretch.

“Before they were spending some of their income on food, not worrying about furniture or a place to live,” said Bauer. “It’s going to be a struggle.”

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