Minnesota nonprofits on the front lines of providing food, child care and other critical services during the COVID-19 outbreak are getting new emergency aid from local foundations and other funders.
The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations located across the state announced this week they’re giving out $300,000 in emergency grants to support child care providers in greater Minnesota.
The Medica Foundation is giving $1 million to 18 nonprofits, including a $100,000 grant to the Washburn Center for Children for telehealth and mental health services.
And on Wednesday, Greater Twin Cities United Way distributed $200,000 to 31 nonprofits in its first round of COVID-19 grants. The foundation also announced Friday that RBC Wealth Management contributed $500,000 to the special fund — its largest gift yet.
“Our greatest concern is the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people already experiencing the greatest disparities,” United Way CEO John Wilgers said in a statement.
And the need is growing. With 182,000 people filing unemployment claims since March 15, food shelves and nonprofits distributing food are scrambling to meet the growing demand.
Since March 13, the Sheridan Story in Roseville has distributed more than 250,000 meals to children and families in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. And so far this month, Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank, has prepared 13,000 emergency food boxes for low-income residents and 56,000 pounds of emergency to-go meals — a record.
Second Harvest has raised $2 million so far for the $5 million food boxes effort and $220,000 out of $5 million needed to back the new Minnesota’s Central Kitchen, putting chefs to work making to-go meals.
The meals are distributed at dining sites across the state by Minneapolis-based Loaves and Fishes. Executive Director Cathy Maes said she’s spending $10,000 more a week on expenses — from to-go containers to staff overtime. The new $6,000 grant from United Way will help, but she said more aid is needed to help feed more hungry Minnesotans.
“It’s a heavy weight,” Maes said Friday. “We’re seeing the demand double and triple at some of our locations.”