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Somali Ethnic Food Shelf

This project will engage community members in the creation of a culturally specific Somali community food shelf in South Minneapolis. Currently, there are 300 food shelves in Minnesota, but due to dietary restrictions, most Somalis cannot access mainstream food shelves. This project will allow Somali community members to engage in the development of a food shelf that makes culturally appropriate food more readily available. Isuroon will work closely with the Somali community to design and implement the food shelf, collaborating with ethnic businesses, faith-based organizations, and people of all ages. Isuroon received a NPI grant in 2014 that began the campaign to organize the Somali community and the process of raising awareness of the need for a culturally appropriate food shelf in South Minneapolis. With the assistance of CURA, Isuroon learned how to accomplish grass roots engagement of Somali immigrants and got the organization involved in the process of how to give voice to their issues and start to make changes in their own community. Many community meetings took place; fundraising in the amount of $26,000 was accomplished through the Seward Co-op, Whole Foods, and a major gala event in November of 2014. A large rally at the Hennepin County Government Center received a good deal of media attention. The second round of NPI funding will support Isuroon hiring a Somali community organizer to work 10 hours a week with the community and continue to engage people in the food shelf campaign and process of civic engagement.

Project Award Date: 
Community organization or agency: 
Sponsoring CURA Program: 
CURA Contact: 
Neeraj Mehta Director of Community Programs (612) 624-8988