Spotlight On The Food Group

Surly Gives A Damn works with many charitable organizations across the Twin Cities to give back to the communities and neighborhoods that support us. Throughout 2021, we’re going to highlight some of the longest-running SGAD partners and what they do.

Who:  The Food Group

What: The Food Group is a local nonprofit focused on using nutritious food to strengthen our communities. They work at the intersection of food access, equity, and nutrition issues related to food and hunger in 32 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Their programs include food shelf and meal program support, a healthy and affordable grocery sales program, and a farmer education program for farmers historically underrepresented in farm ownership learning to operate organic farm businesses. We believe nutritious food strengthens our community by creating better health outcomes and providing the foundation needed to thrive.

How: Surly’s first event with the Food Group, then called the Emergency Food Group, goes all the way back to 2010. If you’ve ever taken the Brooklyn Center brewery tour, you likely recall the big donation bins for perishable goods, which was the “price of admission” for the tour. Those are the Food Group’s bins. Once we can resume tours in a post-COVID world, we hope they’ll be there again.

Most recently, we partnered with them and a number of local liquor stores for an emergency supply drive over the holidays. The Big Blue Bins? Again, that was The Food Group.

Behind the scenes, Surly Gives A Damn volunteers help The Food Group sort food and repack items for distribution to those most in need in the Twin Cities area. In the last year alone, 66 volunteers dedicated 132 hours to The Food Group, the most in SGAD’s history.

“SGAD volunteers are the best,” says Dan Johnson, The Food Group’s Volunteer Coordinator. They come in with a great attitude AND always get things done. Thousands of pounds of food have been packed for our neighbors thanks to the Surly crew.”

SGAD’s Mary Sellke on The Food Group: When the economy went south and schools began shutting down due to COVID, it shone an even brighter light on the problems with hunger in our area. People who never needed assistance before needed help finding food. The Food Group’s mission has never been more important, and it’s an honor to assist them in any way we can.

The Future: We have more events coming this year, including a new Fare For All event on Tuesday, May 25th in Roseville. Fare For All provides low-cost nutritious groceries in a drive-through setting, and we’ll need volunteers to help get the food from the warehouse to our neighbors. Please check our website and our social channels for more Food Group events when they’re posted.

In addition to future SGAD events, The Food Group needs your help to feed our neighbors in need. Stay connected by visiting their website (thefoodgroupmn.org) to learn about additional individual and group volunteer options, how and where to donate items, and putting an end to hunger in Minnesota.


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