On Thanksgiving Day, 2018, personnel from the Minneapolis Police Department joined staff from Grace in the City Church, Woodbury Community Church, and volunteers from around the metro area to prepare and serve 200 meals to persons struggling with homelessness in our Minneapolis community. Though many on-site meals are provided every year, the realities of homelessness in our community mean that many who live on the street and in encampments are not served well by this tradition. For the first time, Minneapolis Police Homeless and Vulnerable Populations Initiative took to the streets with our partners.
Armed with hot meals provided by Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels, and prepared and assembled by our volunteers, we met people on sidewalks, in parks, under bridges or wherever we could. Handshakes, hugs and good conversation accompanied the delicious meal, and at the end of the day everyone felt transformed. But this outreach was about much more than a hot meal. It was about offering hope and support, friendship and building community wherever we can. And most of all, it’s about seeing one another, valuing one another and lifting each other up. Today, our community feels a little smaller and a little closer.
On Saturday, while the metro regrouped from its holiday celebration, Minneapolis Police along with volunteers, and supported by donors and partners from Kane’s Catering, Swanson Meats, St. Vincent’s de Paul and Grace in the City Church, again took to the Minneapolis streets serving nearly 200 lbs of barbecue chicken and roasted potatoes to our citizens struggling with homelessness. We started early, stayed up late, and smoked, grilled, and baked our way through another great meal, this time served out of the back of an MPD Polaris Ranger at 9th and Nicollet.
We provided hats and socks, as well as advocacy, referrals and friendship. The biggest question of the day: When can we do this again?