Have you ever wondered where CEAP gets our wide selection of healthy and culturally relevant food? Besides relying on the generosity of donors, CEAP works with food banks like The Food Group that source food at the wholesale level to make sure that high quality food is available and accessible to all our neighbors. “Getting food that is nutritious and culturally appropriate is a right that everyone has,” says Sophia Lenarz-Coy, Executive Director of The Food Group.
The Food Group began as an emergency food shelf network, and CEAP was one of its founding members. Now, The Food Group is a food equity organization that partners with organizations like CEAP to invest in households and communities who have been left out of the food system. “In Minnesota, where you live and your race really impact what kind of food access you have,” Sophia says. “That’s why it’s so important that when someone comes to CEAP, the food they get is familiar to them and something they want to cook with. Our neighbors deserve food that they want and that their family knows how to celebrate with and connect to.”
Sophia applauds CEAP for always being enthusiastic about figuring out what’s next in meeting community needs and really thinking differently about how we integrate food with county and other services and think bigger about inclusivity. For example, CEAP does not impose geographic boundaries on our community; all of our neighbors, regardless of zip code, are welcome at CEAP.
CEAP and The Food Group know that our work is not just about meeting a basic need; it’s providing the support that communities need to keep connections with each other strong and rich. Food is an amazing way to bring people together!