Minnesotans made over 7.5 million visits to food shelves in 2023, with communities of color experiencing higher rates of food insecurity. In addition, mainstream food shelves often lack high-demand, culturally relevant foods. The SPC COMPASS/PSEO Team partnered with Greater Twin Cities United Way to sponsor a Flavors of Our Community food packing event.

photo of President Peaslee putting food in a bag
photo of staff and students organizing food on a table
photo of a student putting cans of food in bags

Greater Twin Cities United Way addresses urgent community needs while creating lasting change in housing, food, education, and jobs. At SPC, our food shelf has distributed more than 100,000 pounds of food & health-related supplies to many from our campus community in the past 18 months. To meet the needs of our students more proactively, more than two dozen volunteer students and staff met in May to help prepare 300 packs of food for Afghan and Latinx communities. Culturally relevant food pantry packs included a range of spices, flavors, and staples familiar to these communities, such as beans, rice, lentils, corn & tomatoes.

According to Cayleigh Edwards, Engagement Manager for Greater Twin Cities United Way, this successful event helped achieve two goals: 1) increase access to culturally relevant foods for our campus community, and 2) change mindsets and awareness of people to donate food based on community needs, without making assumptions.

photo of cans of food in a plastic bag
photo of boxes of food

Strategically partnering with service organizations like Greater Twin Cities United Way is critical for connecting to students and the community. And this event was a special partnership, says Katie Pierre:

“Engaging in a volunteer event assembling pantry packs is enjoyable and serves a vital purpose in supporting our campus community. By participating in this initiative, students contributed to the Jason Twombly Campus Food Pantry, fostering a culture of compassion and solidarity.”

Katie Pierre, SPC Director of College Partnerships

The SPC Campus Food Pantry will continue serving students, faculty, and staff over the summer on Tuesdays from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesdays from noon to 4:30 pm, and Thursdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

photo of Katie Pierre and student loading cart with boxes
photo of staff and students high fiving