Salvation Army food shelves struggling to meet demand for ethnic items

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 1, 2013 - 12:43 PM

With a growing number of Hmong and Latinos among its clientele in need of help, the Salvation Army put out a call Thursday for food that is more suited to Asian and Hispanic diets.

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Jennifer Xiong, a caseworker at the Salvation Army on Payne Avenue in St. Paul, filled food shelf orders Thursday. The charity is seeing a growing Hmong and Latino clientele, so officials put out a call for food more suited to Asian and Hispanic diets. “The neighborhoods we serve are changing,” Maj. Jeff Strickler said.

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Now don’t misunderstand, Salvation Army officials say. They appreciate all the cans of peas and jars of peanut butter that are donated to their Twin Cities food shelves.

However, with a growing number of Hmong and Latino clients, the charity put out a call Thursday for food more agreeable to Asian and Hispanic diets.

“While we encourage donations of all kinds of nonperishables, we’re asking people to consider giving Asian and Hispanic foods,” said Maj. Jeff Strickler, the Salvation Army’s commander in the Twin Cities. “The neighborhoods we serve are changing.”

The charity said that some Hmong families need bamboo shoots, baby corn and other culturally specific fare because their stomachs won’t accept certain American foods.

For Hispanic families, the call is for rice, Maseca corn flour, cooking oil, hot sauce, salsa, and cans of fruit, veggies and hot peppers.

Five of the Salvation Army’s eight food shelves have strong demand for ethnic food.

In Minneapolis, those are: 2727 Central Av. NE. (Asian, Hispanic); 1604 E. Lake St. (Hispanic); 2024 Lyndale Av. N. (Asian).

In St. Paul, those are: 1019 Payne Av. (Asian, Hispanic); 401 W. 7th St. (Asian, Hispanic).

The number of people receiving food at Twin Cities Salvation Army food shelves has increased about 25 percent in the past two years, going from almost 72,000 people in 2010 to nearly 89,000 in 2012. “We’re expecting to eclipse 100,000 people in 2013,” Strickler said.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Annette Bauer said the charity is also seeing an increased demand at its food shelves for gluten-free products among families with members dealing with allergies.

“All of these areas are learning experiences,” Bauer said.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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