Community partners are essential to the City Connects model of getting the right services to the right students at the right time — especially during the pandemic. One example:
“We work with an organization called Every Meal, which used to be called Sheridan Story, and on Fridays they provide kids with food in backpacks,” Laurie Acker, the City Connects Program Manager says.
Before Covid, only kids who met eligibility rules received backpacks. Since Covid, any student who wants to can have a backpack. And now, Acker says, there are five different packages of food that address cultural preferences and health needs.
As a result of the Covid-fueled demand, the organization is delivering more food than ever before.
Every Meal enacts a key part of the City Connects model by activating existing community resources and organizations such as the Rotary Club of Roseville and the Minnesota Vikings.
“Our goal by 2028 is that every school in the state of Minnesota that wants a weekend food or backpack program has one, so that we can serve all of those kids throughout the state, no matter what school they go to,” Every Meal’s President and Founder Rob Williams tells Fox 9 News.
Acker and her team of coordinators are promoting Every Meal’s food backpacks in their schools.
“We’ve seen hunger spike during Covid, so we really want families to benefit from this.”