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Decisions, decisions in North Minneapolis

Added on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Soon, hundreds of food shelf guests in North Minneapolis will not have to wonder what’s inside their grocery bags. They’ll get to decide for themselves which foods they want.

The N. Lyndale Ave. Salvation Army is about to open a “grocery-style” food shelf, housed inside a new 1,400-square-foot building addition. Staff and volunteers will escort each guest as they select the foods they want.

Portrait of food shelf guest Paul RhodesFood shelf guest Paul Rhodes Sr. (pictured) is excited for the change.

“I’ll get to pick what I want and leave what I don’t,” the 58-year-old said. “Right now, when I receive food that isn’t my favorite, I give it to the lady across the street from me – she has six kids.”

Rhodes has relied on the food shelf for the past decade. He lives with schizophrenia and is unable to work. He receives disability payments, but the money isn’t enough to make ends meet.

“After paying for my medicine, rent, and other bills, I’m lucky if I have $10 or $12 left,” he said. “This place prevents me from having to be out there with a sign, begging for money. I’m thankful for the program.”

Portrait of food shelf guest Jamie WaldahlFood shelf guest Jamie Waldahl (pictured) is also counting the days. The new food shelf will allow her kids to eat more of their favorite foods.

“They love spaghetti noodles – any kind of noodles, really,” the 30-year-old single mother said. “It will be a heck of an opportunity to pick what we want.”

The N. Lyndale Ave. Salvation Army will be the fourth of eight Twin Cities Salvation Army food shelves to offer the grocery-style model.

“We’re excited to give our guests this new option,” said Captain Jim Brickson, co-leader of the N. Lyndale Ave. Salvation Army, adding that about 500 people come to the food shelf every month.

Together, the Twin Cities Salvation Army’s eight food shelves provided groceries to more than 102,000 people last year.

Hot meals, other upgrades

The building addition is part of a larger construction project that also includes a complete remodel of the N. Lyndale Ave. Salvation Army’s first and second floors.

Parkview exteriorThese facility upgrades will add a hot meal program, expand the weight room, create a larger waiting area, yield beautiful aesthetics throughout the building, and more.

The remodel includes a new kitchen that will be used to cook and serve hot meals for 100 to 150 people every weekday, with tables set up in the facility’s 8,000-square-foot gymnasium. Currently, hot meals are not offered.

Portrait of Captain Jim Brickson“Hot meals will be a welcome service to this community’s homeless population, unemployed men and women, and the working poor,” said Brickson (pictured). “We are honored to provide them with food in the name of our savior, Jesus Christ.”

Construction should be complete in June 2016.

Two gracious donors funded the project – Mary McVay and the late Violet Scott, who left The Salvation Army a gift from her estate (learn more about planned giving).

“The generosity of these two women is going to be a game-changer for North Minneapolis,” Brickson said.

Please join The Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community.