Mike Stapp helps carry food boxes from the staging area in the KMart parking lot. Photo courtesy of Mike Stapp.
by Chris Meehan, with reporting by Elizabeth Pease
Servant Branch members distributed 40,000 pounds of food, along with masks, toiletries and games on a Saturday in late June. The distribution took place in a section of Minneapolis where some stores had been burned and others had been heavily damaged by the riots that followed the death of George Floyd, and on the West side of St. Paul, where the branch has an outreach.
Mike Stapp (Servant Branch) helped organize the effort. Several weeks ago, after seeing reports of the riots in the Lake Street area of Minneapolis on the news, he went to the area in person and found, along with still-smoldering buildings, a grassroots cleanup effort, with hundreds of volunteers carrying brooms and dustpans and picking up trash. Moved and inspired, he decided that he, too, could do something to help. He already had experience securing overstock items from large corporations and donating them to People of Praise outreach efforts.
After some research Mike found out that Food Rescue US, a nonprofit helping with coronavirus relief, had refrigerated semi-trailers packed with fresh carrots, potatoes, onions, apples, pears, grapefruit and more that needed to be emptied while the food was still fresh. Mike agreed to accept one semi-trailer with 40,000 pounds of produce to give away on Lake Street.