Joyce Uptown Foodshelf (JUFS) is located in Uptown Minneapolis on the corner of 31st and Fremont Avenue S. Our mission is to serve those in our community experiencing food insecurity with respect and dignity.
2020 has been quite a year for so many and Joyce Uptown Foodshelf included. Joyce Uptown Foodshelf has seen an increase of first time ever food shelf visitors now experiencing food insecurity. By September 30, 2020 (as of 9/30 served 11,373) the Joyce Uptown Food Shelf surpassed the numbers of clients served in all of 2018. (2018 = 11,261) And by the end of October we have already surpassed all of 2019 service numbers. ( 2019= 12,684) as of October 30, 2020 we have served over 13,000. 30% of the people we serve are between the ages of 0-17, we continue to serve many families in our community.
When COVID first hit in March, Joyce Uptown Foodshelf, like many food shelves, moved to a curbside, prepacked model of distribution. Despite serving a record number of clients Joyce Uptown Foodshelf pivoted in September to two new distribution models. With the help of FFEN (Foundation for Essential Needs), generous community supporters and other COVID grant funding Joyce Uptown Foodshelf was able to pivot again in September and welcome food shelf participants back inside the food shelf with a new "Change to Choice Shopping Model". With hard work and an amazing set of dedicated volunteers the Joyce Uptown Food Shelf has created a welcoming “store” for people to select the food they like and enjoy in a respectful and cheerful atmosphere.
With the help of grant funding Joyce Uptown Foodshelf was also able to purchase a van this year and start a mobile food shelf program. Joyce Uptown Foodshelf is currently partnering with Richard Green Elementary School in Minneapolis to help provide food to families experiencing food insecurity. Joyce Uptown Foodshelf delivers food weekly, helping to reduce barriers for families to have access to food for their families. We are specifically fundraising this year to help expand our mobile program to add on home delivery and partner with other organizations to help individuals and families who have transportation or healthy barriers to get to the food shelf.
Joyce Uptown Foodshelf receives countless phone calls from people who have never had to utilize a food shelf or food support before. Their questions "How do I qualify to come to Joyce?" or "What do I need to bring to show that I am in need of food?". There is only one answer needed: "You are welcome to come to Joyce, you don't need to bring anything, just come". It is overwhelming for the staff and volunteers to witness first-hand the sense of relief when families discover all they need to do is walk through the door to Joyce. Through the tears or a big thank you, their relief is evident. One more family does not need to worry about food for the week.
As the food shelf director, I am continually struck by the sense of community that surrounds Joyce Uptown Foodshelf. This sense of community was even more evident this year! From our clients that find ways to give back every day, to high school students, community and faith groups, businesses, and individuals finding creative ways to support this community. Not to mention volunteers, it takes many hands to make it all happen!
A couple of our clients recently shared the following:
"I received the groceries you sent. I want to thank you so much. I was in need of groceries. I thank God first for helping places like yours to give to families that are struggling in this time of need. I want to thank you from my heart for helping us. May God continue allowing your food shelf to help those in need."
"I rarely need services of this nature, but sometimes, life happens. I came to Joyce today and was treated well. The volunteers are pleasant, kind, and welcoming. The selection is great, and they don't give you just one bag. I brought home five bags for one person! Produce, non-dairy items, household goods, toiletries--everything that you need is there. I will go back if I need to and donate when I can. Awesome place!
On behalf of the Joyce Uptown Foodshelf board, volunteers, staff, and our clients thank you for supporting Joyce Uptown Foodshelf. We could not serve this community without you! Your gift makes a difference and directly impacts the health of our community. Please contact us by phone at 612-825-4431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like more information about the work of Joyce Uptown Foodshelf.