Driven by increased need due to the pandemic, The Food Pulse distributes boxes of free food without restriction on Wednesdays starting at 4 pm from the south parking lot of Lifetime Fitness-Crosstown 6233 Baker Road, Eden Prairie.
Below, Vanessa Nordstrom, one of the co-founders of The Food Pulse, responded to questions about her organization’s efforts to distribute food.
How much food has been distributed (boxes, pounds etc…)?
The Food Pulse has been doing a food distribution for the Twin Cities and surround area since Nov 25, 2020. In the last 5 weeks, said Nordstrom “We have distributed over 50,000 pounds of food.”
Where does the food come from?
Nordstrom said the Farm-to-Family boxes are sourced via the United States government and distributed to larger non-profits, which get them out to the community each week. According to Nordstrom, food boxes are sourced from Heartland – Recovery efforts in Shakopee (part of Hosanna Church, Shakopee). The Food Pulse has also received food donations from Aldi’s, Target, and HyVee via Heartland, according to Nordstrom.
What are the addresses where food is distributed in Eden Prairie?
In Eden Prairie food is distributed at Lifetime Fitness- Crosstown 6233 Baker Road. Now that Lifetime has reopened, distribution occurs in the back parking lot (southside of building, where Pinnacle Drive connects with Baker Road ).
Last week The Food Pulse added a second location at 7544 Nicollet for the hard hit Richfield, Bloomington, MPLS areas, according to Nordstrom.
When does that happen?
Each Wednesday, pending weather and having food accessible. The next distribution is Wednesday, December 30, starting at 4pm.
When did the effort start and when will the distribution end?
This effort emerged with the crisis critical need on November 25 after the fitness and restaurant industry were hit extremely hard again. Our two Non- Profits at His House Foundation and at The Friendship Project have been distributing food all summer to Carver, Scott, Dakota counties and to Hennepin county since July, said Nordstrom.
“We are seeing a ton of barriers to those in need of food, transportation, access, requirements and communication. We know that the need is critical and the food is there… we just have to have a pulse on where the food is at and get it to people.” – Vanessa Nordstrom, The Food Pulse
Who is coordinating the effort (is it non-profit or) and why?
Krystal Queen at The Friendship Project and Vanessa Nordstrom and Martha Brannon at His House Foundation/Abundance are both working with low-income, homeless and food insecure people that are falling through the cracks in the system, according to Nordstrom.
Nordstrom partners work to understand people’s situations and offer a holistic approach to getting people achieve food security. We “…understand that food is one of the core essentials everyone must have (and) is a bridge to connecting with people,” said Nordstrom.
The approach helps to create a relationship to ensure other core essentials are being met. If they are not, Nordstrom noted her organization works with people to figure out a game plan.
Nordstrom noted she has a degree in environmental policy and spent 20 years in the food industry with General Mills and smaller organic food companies. As a result, said Nordstrom, she understands food insecurity and food wealth.
In 2019 Nordstrom created an environmental consulting company called Everyday Eco Solutions, that focusing on food waste and food capture to repurpose it to those in need.
This approach is a collaborative fix to both environmental and social justice issues, according to Nordstrom. “When COVID hit, it collapsed most of my clients ability to capture food from restaurants, schools, churches, and corporate cafeterias,” she noted. Nordstrom “quickly shifted gears” and began building out His House/Abundance with Martha into a full homeless agency.
The need evolved and created – The Food Pulse. Nordstrom said while “there are many efforts distributing food… many people still do not know where to go to get it.”
The Food Pulse is focused on breaking down barriers and offering food weekly that is highly publicized with no restrictions. The Food Pulse, according to Nordstrom, is working to create a network to spread the news about food distributions out there.
“We fully intend to make this model expand across the Twin Cities and the state (of Minnesota),” said Nordstrom.