Happy Monday! Today’s Grantee Monday is about one of our recent Hunger and Homeless grant recipients, the ICA Food Shelf! Open Your Heart provided the ICA Food Shelf with funding for a new upright commercial freezer to be able to properly store and display frozen food options for food shelf guests.
Since 1971, ICA has been responding to the needs of their neighbors in seven communities in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. From its roots as a small food and clothing program located in a home in downtown Hopkins, ICA has grown to offer a variety of food programs and has added assistance with rent and utility bills, help securing employment, case management, and program offerings. Today, they serve 5,500 people annually and have nearly 750 volunteers assisting them in this work. Thank you ICA Food Shelf for all of the amazing work that you do!
Happy Monday! Today’s Grantee Monday is about one of our recent 2019 Senior Homelessness grant recipients, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans! The fastest growing segment of the homeless population over the past decade has been among individuals 55 years old and over. Through a special Request For Proposals, Open Your Heart provided funding to shelters and other facilities in Minnesota to help address the unique barriers and challenges faced by homeless senior citizens and those who serve them.
Open Your Heart provided MACV with funding towards direct financial assistance to senior Veterans for security deposits and rent to prevent or end homelessness. Since 1990, MACV has been the only Minnesota agency solely dedicated to serving homeless and near homeless Veterans. Started originally by a Twin Cities VFW post to house 13 Veterans, MACV now serves nearly 5,000 Veterans and families a year. Thank you Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans for the amazing and inspiring work you do for Veterans experiencing homelessness in Minnesota!
Happy Monday! Today’s Grantee Monday is about Avenues for Youth! Open Your Heart provided Avenues for Youth with funding for updated furniture and kitchen equipment to create a welcoming and sanitary living space for youth experiencing homelessness.
For 25 years, Avenues has supported youth ages 16-24 in Hennepin County. Whether a young person needs someplace to stay for just one night, or a year and a half, Avenues empowers youth to find their path out of homelessness. Today, Avenues supports more than 300 homeless youth annually, double the number it supported just three years ago. Thank you Avenues for Youth for the amazing and inspiring work you do for youth experiencing homelessness in Minnesota!
Happy Monday! Today’s Grantee Monday is about Pathways 4 Youth (P4Y)! Open Your Heart provided P4Y with funding for transportation assistance to help remove transportation barriers for homeless youth in Greater MN.
P4Y’s mission is to provide pathways to end youth homelessness, ages 16 – 24 in the central Minnesota area. P4Y is a resource center designed for youth to provide a safe space where they can obtain necessities including food, clothing, showers, a mailing address, lockers, computer access, health care check-ups, and a hot meal. Since they opened their doors last May, they have had over 160 youth with over 1,000 visits. Thank you Pathways 4 Youth for all that you do for youth experiencing homelessness in Greater MN!
Happy Monday! Today’s Grantee Monday is about Edward Neill Elementary! Open Your Heart provided Edward Neill Elementary with funding for a new refrigerator to be able to supply more fresh produce to families and students facing food insecurity, allowing families to meet other basic needs such as rent, pay bills, school lunches, etc.
Edward Neill Elementary serves around 350 students and families living in Burnsville. In the 2018-19 school year, 42 % of students qualified for free breakfast and lunch and 13% qualified for reduced breakfast and lunch. Thank you Edward Neill Elementary for all that you do for students and families facing food insecurity in Burnsville!
Open Your Heart provided The Link with funding for street outreach supplies to help provide support to youth experiencing homelessness in Dakota and Washington counties during the cold winter months.
The Link works with youth and families to overcome the impacts of poverty and social injustice. The Link is a youth and adult led Minneapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to helping young people build brighter, more stable futures. The Link provides services to at-risk youth through 21 programs in three divisions. In 2018, The Link served over 2,000 youth in the 7-county Twin Cities Metro. Thank you The Link for all that you do for youth experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities Metro!
Open Your Heart provided funding for Helping Hands Emergency Services for a new refrigerator and freezer to be able to store and distribute more fresh products to clients.
Helping Hands Emergency Services’ mission is to provide food and service connections to low income families living in Mahnomen and northern Becker counties. During 2018, Helping Hands served 3,343 individuals living within Mahnomen County and northern Becker County. Thank you Helping Hands Emergency Services, Inc. for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided WeCAN with funding for a new refrigerator, freezer, and updated equipment to be able to provide more meals to individuals and families facing food insecurity in western Hennepin County.
WeCAN has been aiding low-income families in western Hennepin County since 1989. Based in Mound, WeCAN is the only comprehensive human services provider for low-income residents in this region. Last year the WeCAN Mobile Market distributed a record 72,206 pounds of food, which is equivalent to 62,672 meals. Thank you Western Communities Action Network for the wonderful work that you do for individuals and families facing food insecurity!
Open Your Heart provided Ruth’s House with funding for two new freezers to be able to provide more food to families experiencing homelessness.
Ruth’s House provides transitional shelter and support for women and children in crisis. In 2018, Ruth’s House served 45 women and 55 children at their emergency and transitional shelters, and an additional 30 women in their long-term supportive housing units. Thank you Ruth’s House for all that you do for women and children in crisis!
Open Your Heart provided Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf with funding for a new refrigerator and freezer to be able to increase client access to fresh produce and dairy.
Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf’s mission is to “Extinguish hunger. Ignite hope.” In 2018 they distributed over 257,992 pounds of food to 2,750 households. Thank you Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf for the wonderful work that you do!
Open Your Heart provided Our Saviour’s with funding for new beds to be able to provide a safer and healthier place for individuals and families experiencing homelessness to stay and sleep.
Our Saviour’s Housing (a program of Our Saviour’s Community Services) is a non-sectarian social service agency providing emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and additional support services for homeless men, women, and families. In 2018, Our Saviour’s served 513 homeless individuals. Thank you Our Saviour’s Community Services for all that you do for individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Minnesota.
Open Your Heart provided HFS with funding for refrigeration to be able to provide more fresh produce and dairy to families facing food insecurity in rural Minnesota.
HFS will be celebrating 50 years of service to the community in 2020, meeting the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and transportation for individuals and families in the Hastings area. The primary goal of HFS is to address basic human needs and end hunger and homelessness by partnering with area individuals, businesses and foundations to provide assistance and hope to those in need. Thank you Hastings Family Service for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided CES with funding to continue providing hunger relief to over 123,500 children, adults, and seniors across Minneapolis annually.
CES transforms lives by serving neighbors, sharing resources, and becoming community–a place where people come hungry and leave hopeful. In the fiscal year of 2019, CES has provided 596,022 meals to those in need and over $18,025 in financial assistance to 969 households. Thank you Community Emergency Service for all that you do for Minnesotans facing food insecurity.
Open Your Heart provided funding to the Salvation Army of Rochester for refrigeration to be able to provide more nutritious meals and food options for people experiencing homelessness through their daily meal program.
Since October 1896, The Salvation Army of Rochester has given emergency assistance to families and individuals in both ongoing and unforeseen crisis situations, serving over 150 households each month. Thank you Salvation Army of Rochester for all that you do for those in need!
Open Your Heart provided funding to REACH for refrigeration to be able to provide more fresh produce and dairy products to individuals and families facing food insecurity in rural Minnesota.
REACH is a non-profit human service center serving children, individuals, and families residing in rural Clay, Becker, and Norman counties in Minnesota. REACH was established in 1991 as the result of a grassroots effort focused on addressing the pressing emotional and financial problems facing families in the area. Over the past 28 years, REACH has become ‘the service provider’ for rural communities in the area and continues to alter or expand its services based on the needs demonstrated by the people they serve. In 2018, they distributed 41,859 pounds of food and over 660 backpacks per month to area schools. Thank you REACH for all that you do!!
Open Your Heart provided funding to The Open Door for two new commercial sinks to be able to efficiently and effectively wash food donations while providing more fresh produce to individuals facing food insecurity throughout Dakota County.
The Open Door was founded as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2009 and through their mission, “a fresh approach to ending local hunger through access to health food” has grown to provide fresh healthy food to 6,000 low-income residents across Dakota County each month.
Through their innovative programs and their focus on nutrition, they have sought to redefine how our sector approaches hunger relief. In 2010 they launched the Garden to Table® program, which helps food-shelf clients grow their own vegetables in adoptable plots. In 2012 they launched The Mobile Pantry, the only program of its kind in Dakota County. Their team schedules appointments with clients one neighborhood at a time, then sends well-stocked vehicles to community sites in the areas of greatest need. Thank you Open Door for all that you do for individuals and families facing food insecurity!
Open Your Heart provided funding to Launch Ministry for amenities to provide clients with additional services and better meals throughout the week.
Launch Ministry was established in 2009 to meet the needs of their community, offering life skills and mentoring to individuals struggling with becoming self-sufficient adults. This program includes a partnership with the Carver County Jail Reentry program working with young adults transitioning from jail back into the community. In October of 2014 Launch Ministry opened a homeless youth drop-in resource center, the only resource center of its kind in Carver and Scott County. Thank you Launch Ministry for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided Small Sums with funding for 71 monthly bus passes to be able to remove transportation barriers for individuals individuals experiencing homelessness to get to and from work.
Small Sums’ sole purpose is to help homeless individuals, who have found jobs, with the specific things that they need to start back to work. They remove obstacles that often prevent homeless workers from being able to take a job – like required work clothes and shoes, trade tools, professional licenses or union dues, and bus passes so they have a reliable way to get to work everyday (until they receive a paycheck). In 2018, Small Sums helped 652 homeless clients. Thank you Small Sums for all that you do for Minnesotan workers experiencing homelessness.
Open Your Heart provided The Link with funding to support students experiencing homelessness holistically through a combination of field trip costs, sports funding, transportation assistance and community gym memberships.
The Link works with youth and families to overcome the impacts of poverty and social injustice. Since its inception 28 years ago, The Link has worked with youth experiencing homelessness (including young parents experiencing homelessness), sexual exploitation, mental health issues, youth at-risk of abandoning school, and/or involved in the juvenile justice system. Thank you The Link for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided PROP with funding for a new commercial sink to be able to provide clean and safe produce to food shelf clients.
PROP is a nonprofit social service organization that provides hunger relief and additional support programs. PROP provides services to 3,000+ individuals from Eden Prairie and Chanhassen. Thank you People Reaching Out to People for all the amazing work you do in our community!
Open Your Heart provided Haven Housing with funding for a new energy efficient freezer to be able to accept more food donations and increase healthy food options for families at the shelter.
The mission of Haven Housing is to provide women in crisis or transition with a stable environment and the opportunity to explore options for their future. Haven Housing operates three programs in North Minneapolis: Ascension Place, St. Anne’s Place and Next Step Housing. In 2018, Haven Housing served 437 women and children. Thank you Haven Housing for all that you do for women and children in crisis!
Open Your Heart provided YouthLink MN with funding to help remove barriers towards obtaining a GED for homeless youth, a crucial step in breaking the crisis cycle that leads to long-term homelessness.
For over 40 years, YouthLink MN has been a safe and supportive place of refuge for young people experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities. In 2017, 196 youth worked toward an educational goal with our Education Navigator with 82 working toward a GED. Thank you for all that you do in our community YouthLink MN, we are proud to partner with you!
Open Your Heart provided Open Hands Midway with funding for upgraded kitchen equipment to be able to provide healthy and safe meals to individuals and families facing food insecurity in Ramsey County.
The mission of Open Hands Midway is to serve the St. Paul Midway and surrounding area by leveraging contributors’ gifts in providing a means for those who are economically challenged to obtain nutritious meals, clothing, household goods, groceries and personal supplies, along with access to an array of community resources. In 2018, Open Hands served 13,274 free meals during weekly programs and community events. Thank you Open Hands Midway for all that you do in our community!
Open Your Heart provided The Bridge for Youth with funding for essential educational items to be able to provide the necessary resources for their youth residents to achieve academic success.
The Bridge for Youth was founded in 1970 as one of the nation’s first shelters for youth in crisis to find safe refuge and support. Since then, The Bridge has provided shelter to over 49,000 young people, pioneering innovative services to prevent homelessness, reunite families, and help youth become healthy productive adults. Thank you The Bridge for Youth for all that you do for youth experiencing homelessness in MN!
Open Your Heart provided Face to Face with funding for updated furniture for their youth drop-in center to be able to provide a comfortable and dignified space for homeless youth to relax, while allowing them to find a sense of community among their peers.
Face to Face has three major program areas: Adolescent Health, Mental Health, and Homeless Youth Programs. In 2018, SafeZone, Face to Face’s drop-in center for youth, provided basic needs, mental health, and medical services to 1,372 young people over 17,611 visits. Thank you Face to Face for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided Women of Nations with funding for school supplies, backpacks and school uniforms,so that they can provide resources and support for students escaping domestic violence.
Women of Nations was founded in 1982 as an advocacy program for Native American women and children experiencing trauma from domestic violence. Women of Nations serves approximately 550 adults and 350 children each year. Thank you Women of Nations for all that you do for women and children fleeing from domestic violence!
Open Your Heart provided Great River Family Promise with funding for beds, pillows, and a microwave to be able to have adequate resources for families experiencing homelessness to prepare food and have a comfortable space to sleep.
Great River Family Promise’s mission is to build partnerships throughout their communities to support children and families experiencing homelessness to achieve sustainable independence. Great River Family Promise provides immediate relief through their emergency shelter and intensive case management to families overcoming housing barriers. Thank you Great River Family Promise for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided The Salvation Army of Fergus Falls with funding for a new kitchen steam table to be able to distribute more healthy meals through their lunch program to individuals facing food insecurity.
The Salvation Army is dedicated to ensuring that everyone within their community has access to food, a safe and dignified living situation, and the opportunity to work toward more secure and stable futures. The Salvation Army of Fergus Falls offers 15 programs to support households in the community. Their programs include rent and utility assistance, food pantry assistance, prescription assistance, HeatShare, an after-school program, and spiritual services throughout the week. Thank you to The Salvation Army of Fergus Falls for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided the Kitchen Table Food Shelf of Tracy with funding for a commercial freezer to increase the amount of frozen products they have on hand for customers. The Kitchen Table Food Shelf serves 1,443 people facing food insecurity annually. Thank you Kitchen Table Food Shelf of Tracy for all that you do!
Open Your Heart provided CHUM with funding towards an additional warm shelter space for people experiencing homelessness during sub-zero temperatures and inclement weather.
CHUM was founded in 1973, when 10 churches united to help low-income neighbors with food and basic needs. Today, CHUM is Duluth’s only emergency shelter for the general homeless population, with an 80-bed adult congregate shelter and six apartment units for families with children. Thank you Churches United in Ministry for your incredible service and dedication towards Minnesota’s homeless community!
Open Your Heart provided CAPI USA with funding for a new refrigerator for their culturally specific food shelf, enabling them to provide fresher produce while reducing the amount of product thrown away due to limited refrigeration space.
CAPI USA was established to help Southeast Asian refugees settle in the Twin City area in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. CAPI USA provides a wide range of basic need, economic empowerment and civic engagement programming to 6,000+ low-income Hennepin County Asian, African, Latinx and populations of color annually. Thank you CAPI USA for the wonderful and inspiring work that you do in our community!
SVdP received funding from Open Your Heart for a new freezer to deliver perishable foods to 20+ local food shelves, providing their neighbors in need with much-needed access to fresh perishable foods that support healthy diets.
SVdP was founded in 1856 and is the oldest non-profit in Minnesota. They operate thrift stores, food banks and free stores, and offer home visit outreach to support the poor. Vinnie’s Hope, the food bank run out of their Minneapolis distribution center, has distributed 8.36 million pounds of food to those who are hungry and in need since its opening in 2015. Thank you SVdP Twin Cities for the incredible work that you do in our community!
FOCP was one of our recent 2019 grantees and received funding from Open Your Heart for warehouse equipment and supplies to help serve youth facing food insecurity in Nicollet County.
FOCP was developed in 2010 to fulfill an important service gap within greater communities (urban and rural), providing youth hunger relief through the efforts of The Back Pack Food Program which serves food-insecure elementary students. Today, FOCP serves over 900 youth in grades K-8 at 21 schools within five school districts and strives to engage the community in solving youth hunger. Thank you Feeding Our Communities Partners for the wonderful work you do in our community!
Open Your Heart provided Joyce Uptown Foodshelf with funding for refrigeration to help provide more food to individuals and families facing food insecurity, while not having to throw away countless pounds of fresh produce due to lack of appropriate refrigeration.
Joyce Uptown Foodshelf was founded as an outreach ministry of Joyce United Methodist Church. In 2018 they served over 11,250 clients and distributed over 208,000 pounds of food. Thank you Joyce Uptown Foodshelf for the amazing work you do in our community!
Open Your Heart provided Haven Housing with funding for school supplies, uniforms, athletic shoes, tutoring supplies, field trips and school photos. With these necessities Haven Housing can continue to serve more than 130 children experiencing homelessness.
Haven Housing provides women in crisis or transition with a stable environment and the opportunity to explore options for their future. Haven Housing operates three supportive housing programs in North Minneapolis for women and women-led families, serving nearly 450 clients each year. Thank you Haven Housing for the incredible work that you do!
YouthLink was one of our 2018 Education grantees and received funding from Open Your Heart to help provide GED classes and education support for homeless youth. Financial support towards educational needs enables YouthLink to support more homeless youth by removing barriers towards educational attainment. Helping them to build the skills and tools they need to escape poverty.
Simpson was one of our 2018 Education grantees and received funding from Open Your Heart for new school uniforms. With new school uniforms, Simpson is able to assist more students experiencing homelessness, which will ultimately give them a greater degree of normalcy in their school day.
Avenues received funding from Open Your Heart this past October for under bed storage chests and new metal bed frames. With new under bed storage chests and bed frames, Avenues for Homeless Youth is able to provide an environment and shelter that feels like home and allows homeless youth to strive and heal.
Avenues for Homeless Youth’s mission is to provide emergency shelter, short-term housing and supportive services for homeless youth in a safe and nurturing environment. Avenues operates two congregate shelters that combined provide a temporary home and intensive supports for 33 homeless youth every day. Thank you Avenues for your incredible work and dedication towards helping youth experiencing homelessness in MN.
CROSS Services received funding from Open Your Heart this past December for three new commercial coolers. The three coolers for CROSS’ food shelf warehouse will preserve the increased poundage (from 58,000 lbs per month to 120,000 lbs. per month) of donated fresh perishable foods be able to move at least 85% of this healthy fresh food to families and individuals in need.
CROSS was incorporated in 1977 to provide emergency services of food, clothing, and housing assistance to families and individuals struggling with low- incomes and to those in a financial crisis. Over the past 5 years, CROSS food distribution has expanded from one site to 31 locations impacting more than 5,000 families each month. Thank you CROSS Services for all the amazing work you do in our community!
Monday’s are becoming our favorite day of the week because we get to share a little bit about the incredible work so many of our community partners and grantees are doing for the state of MN and the hunger and homeless community.
Interfaith Action received funding from Open Your Heart this past December for a new produce crisper. The new produce crisper extends the shelf-life and quality of the produce they offer to their clients. Established in 1906, Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul collaborates with over 150 organizations (including over 100 diverse faith communities and dozens of nonprofit partners) working together to relieve the effects of poverty and address its root causes. They serve over 3,000 low-income community members annually. Let’s give it up for Interfaith Action and the amazing work they are doing!
Oasis received funding from Open Your Heart this past December for motel vouchers for their street outreach. The motel vouchers will assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Morrison County this winter, where there are currently no other services for emergency housing, by providing them with a warm place to stay for numerous nights.
The vision of Oasis Central Minnesota is to provide a platform for Morrison County residents to work together through Oasis Central Minnesota to assure access to basic necessities for all. Their mission is to build community and bridge gaps by providing emergency housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, being a resource and referral hub, and increasing access to quality food. Thank you Oasis for all the incredible work you are doing!
Monday’s are a lot less dreary when you know about all of the incredible work and contributions that so many MN nonprofits are making towards the fight against hunger and homelessness.
NCBC received funding from OYH for a new commercial freezer for their food shelf. With this new freezer, NCBC’s food shelf will be able to expand its services and capacity to offer more food to those in need. The New Creation Baptist Church’s (NCBC) food shelf mission is to serve the people in the Greater Metropolitan Area who are struggling financially and are in need of food. NCBC’s food shelf distributes food on Saturdays when most food shelves are closed and currently serve about 1,000 individuals monthly with over 14,000 pounds of food distributed. Thank you New Creation Baptist Church for all the wonderful work you do for the homeless community.
The Link received funding from OYH for street outreach supplies. The supplies purchased will help youth experiencing homelessness in Dakota, Washington, and Hennepin counties stay warm, hydrated, and nourished during the winter months, and will assist with personal hygiene and other basic needs.
The Link was founded in 1991 by two former Minnesota Vikings players, Jim Marshall and Oscar Reed, in response to a need for services for youth who were being victimized by crime and homelessness in north Minneapolis. What was once a grassroots initiative to bring opportunity to youth, has become a multi-service agency offering comprehensive programs to address the multifaceted needs of youth. Thank you to The Link for the incredible work you do!
HOPE (Healing Opportunity Provided Equally)
HOPE received funding from OYH to purchase a new security system that will allow key-less entry for its residents. With the new key-less entry security system, HOPE will be able to ensure the safety of its residents whom are escaping from trauma and staying in their emergency/safe housing.
HOPE was established in 1981 as a non-profit organization to serve victims of domestic abuse. They serve victims of domestic abuse in Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Mille Lacs Counties, but also extends to additional rural Minnesota communities when needed. Thank you HOPE for the incredible work that you do in Minnesota and providing emergency shelter and hope to so many women and children in need.
Kicking off the new year with our first Grantee Monday! Each Monday, Open Your Heart will highlight one of our charity partners, showcasing the organization and it’s impact.
Today’s grantee highlight is about one of our recent 2018 grantees Loaves & Fishes! Loaves & Fishes received funding from OYH to purchase four new doors for expanded, energy-efficient refrigeration space in their warehouse. The expanded refrigeration will enhance the quality and quantity of fresh food that is distributed through their street outreach meal program. Loaves & Fishes began in 1982 with two dining sites. Today they serve at 60+ meal outlets in seven counties and are the largest open to the public free meal program in Minnesota. Thank you Loaves & Fishes for all the wonderful work you do throughout Minnesota!