Challenge Partner Highlight: The Sheridan Story

The Edina Challenge is a collaborative effort led by the Edina Community Foundation to ensure that disadvantaged youth in Edina have every opportunity for success. When the Edina Challenge was started in 2013, team members worked to identify the barriers to success for the 750 Edina kids who qualified for free or reduced priced meals. While many of these families have a stable home life, a number of these kids deal with homelessness, lack of nutritional food (especially on the weekends), lack of a mentor in their lives, and difficulty being physically active.

This month, we are spotlighting The Sheridan Story.

Did you know that more than 200,000 children in Minnesota live with food insecurity? Without reliable access to food such as meal programs at school, the risk of hunger is very real, and not having regular access to nutritious food can hold children back from having a healthy life. The Sheridan Story works to combat hunger in our community by filling the gaps to food access that children face: primarily on weekends and summers.

The Sheridan Story’s role is to manage the operations and logistics of the weekend food program to ensure it runs smoothly and is well supported. The Sheridan Story sources the food and runs the inventory management and food packing events at their facility in Roseville. They also store and deliver the packed food to the schools and provide helpful materials including promotional material, multiple-language permission slips, and sponsor fundraising tools.

The Sheridan Story takes a unique approach to fighting child hunger. While not a typical “backpack program,” The Sheridan Story is a full-service non-profit organization specializing in equipping the community to implement weekend food programs in their local schools. They are a mobile delivery solution, providing food to children right where they are—at school. With the help of The Sheridan Story’s community volunteers, children are given a five pound bag of substantive, nutritious food directly in their backpacks every Friday afternoon. 

In the summer, The Sheridan Story provides bags of food to summer school students, as well as to children of migrant farm workers. Fresh produce is provided by Surly and Dangerous Man breweries that each run community gardens from which The Sheridan Story collects produce which is then distributed weekly from mid-July through September to a number of students in the Minneapolis Public Schools.  If you have a garden and would like to donate produce, contact The Sheridan Story.

The Sheridan Story is committed to implementing a weekend food program so that no child goes hungry. They currently run the Weekend Food Program in 200 schools throughout Minnesota, serving 6,000 kids every week.

How can you help? 

  • Sponsor a school 

  • Donate

  • Fundraise – do you have an event where you can fundraise for Sheridan Story?

  • Volunteer – get a group together to pack food in the Sheridan Story warehouse

  • Host a food drive – your company, church, sports organization, etc. can host a food drive

Which ever way you decide to get involved, The Sheridan Story can provide you with all of the materials you need. Get information at www.thesheridanstory.org or by reaching out to Elizabeth Tenpas, Director of Development at etenpas@thesheridanstory.org or 612-568-4051. 

Edina Challenge Partner Highlight: Oasis for Youth

The Edina Challenge is an on-going collaborative effort led by the Edina Community Foundation to ensure that disadvantaged youth in Edina have every opportunity for success. When the Edina Challenge was started in 2013, team members worked to identify the barriers to success for the 750 Edina kids who qualified for free or reduced priced meals. While many of these families have a stable home life, a number of these kids deal with homelessness, lack of nutritional food (especially on the weekends), lack of a mentor in their lives, and difficulty being physically active.

Each month we will spotlight one of the Edina Challenge partners, most of which need volunteers to help carry out their vision. This month we are sharing the story behind Oasis for Youth. 

 

Oasis for Youth is located in Bloomington and serves youth 16-24 years of age who live, work or attend school in Bloomington, Richfield and Edina, though no kids in need are turned away. Oasis for Youth opens doors to housing, employment, education and wellness for youth facing homelessness in the suburbs.

Youth can visit Oasis during drop-in hours (2-5 p.m. weekdays) or set up a meeting with a case manager to address their specific needs. Oasis for Youth’s drop-in center operates out of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Old Shakopee Road.

Oasis offers basic needs, such as:

  • free clothing and hygiene products
  • showers and laundry facilities
  • support to find food and housing resources
  • help with transportation
  • connections to physical and mental health resources
  • job search assistance, and
  • connections to caring adults.

Oasis also conducts school- and community-based outreach, including at Edina High School and other areas in Edina where young people spend time. Outreach case managers are able to provide mobile, immediate assistance to any young person who may need help.

Oasis for Youth was established by community members as an all-volunteer response to address the barriers and lack of services for the rising number of suburban youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Oasis for Youth opened its doors in July 2010 as an innovative, entrepreneurial and grassroots intervention. Since 2010, Oasis has experienced tremendous growth, adding three additional programs. Youth made 90 visits to the Drop-in Center in the first year. In 2107, youth made over 2,500 visits, and Oasis is serving 300 young people annually across its programs.

There are many ways to help: prepare a meal, help with fundraising events, coordinate a donation drive at your school or church, or fundraise specifically for Oasis for Youth. For more information, please visit https://www.oasisforyouth.org/volunteer/. You can find a list of Oasis for Youth's immediate needs at https://www.oasisforyouth.org/wishlist/

For more information on Oasis for Youth, visit their website at www.oasisforyouth.org.