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Helping those who are hungry - Health Fair 11 provides food assistance

One in 8 Minnesota children experience hunger on a regular basis. Health Fair 11 & UCare are stepping up to help.
Credit: Health Fair 11
Health Fair 11's "You matter" project helps provide support for people who have food security challenges.

MINNEAPOLIS — There are more than 461,200 Minnesotans struggling with hunger. That’s according to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Feeding America is a nationwide network of member food banks dedicated to alleviating hunger in every state. The organization’s data shows one out of eight children in Minnesota experience hunger on a regular basis.

Emergency medical technicians, first responders, and community outreach staff see it every day – people needing medical attention who are also hungry. Food insecurity has become an even greater problem because of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Fair 11 and its sponsors, UCare and KARE 11, are stepping up to help. In the coming weeks, Health Fair 11 will be providing meal kits and nutritious snacks to feed 3,200 people in some of the most challenging areas of the Twin Cities. 

The food will be packaged by MATTER and distributed to Minneapolis Fire stations, North Memorial Health Care EMS, MAD DADs, and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s department. From there, frontline workers will give the snack and meal kits to the people they assist on a daily basis who also have hunger issues.

Each MATTER Meal kits contains enough groceries to feed as many as 13 people. The kits have recipe cards with instructions on how to turn the food items into hot, nutritious meals. MATTER Snack Packs provide on-the-go hunger relief. Each pack has a serving of grain, fruit, and protein. The packs also have a hand-written note of encouragement to give people and emotional lift along with their meal.

Health Fair 11 Community outreach

The "You matter" campaign is a collaborative effort coordinated by Health Fair 11, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving community health through strategic partnerships. Health Fair 11 is adapting its traditional outreach programs to respond to the community needs created by curveballs thrown at us by 2020. In times of uncertainty, the snack packs and meal kits provide the physical and emotional lift needed to help people get by day-to-day.

This fall outreach is the sixth phase for Health Fair 11’s "You matter" campaign. Earlier this year healthy snacks were distributed to childcare providers, behind-the-scenes health care workers in western Minnesota, and groups providing services to people who are homeless. Food has also been provided to people helping with the George Floyd response. To date, more than 12,500 people have been fed by Health Fair 11’s outreach.

Project partners

Health Fair 11’s sponsors are UCare and KARE11 TV. UCare is an independent, non-profit health plan company that partners with community organizations across Minnesota. KARE 11, a national award-winning leader in local news and information, serves the Twin Cities area as well as greater Minnesota and western Wisconsin on television, online and on mobile platforms.

MATTER Meal kits and Snack Packs are prepared following sanitary protocols established by MATTER at their headquarters in St. Louis Park. MATTER is a global non-profit with a mission to move people forward by eliminating barriers to a healthier life. Each snack box contains a serving of grains, fruit, and protein (peanut-free.) The packs also include a handwritten ‘You Matter’ note as well as an activity card.

MATTER has volunteer opportunities for families and small groups. These can be done in your own home. Learn more here

Learn about all of Health Fair 11’s programs at www.HealthFair11.org. Contact Health Fair 11 at healthfair@kare11.com. The 501(c)(3) organization is committed to improving community health and helping people re-engage in their health journeys.