A vital supply drive for needy families in Minneapolis amassed huge support from the community after rioting destroyed many stores in the area.
School principal Amy Nelson was contacted by a concerned parent in the hope of organizing a food drive. After Nelson posted a call to arms on social media, the response from the community was nothing short of overwhelming.
Nelson's initial request was for enough donations to make up 85 food kits for local families. The school, closed as a precautionary measure owing to the ongoing pandemic, would be the site of the drop-off on May 31.
"I think people were looking for something to do," Nelson explained. "We had countless people drive up. They were at a grocery story 25 miles away and people there were buying from our same grocery list."
Even before the Sunday morning drive-by donation drop was scheduled to begin, donations had already filled the sidewalk, far surpassing Nelson's expectations. With vital supplies amassing with lightning speed, Nelson had a bright idea; she contacted local food bank nonprofit The Sheridan Story and told them there were bags to spare.
"We started in [the] parking lot and then covered every square inch of grass," said Nelson. "It got so congested, we sent a truck down to a nearby park. People waited over an hour to drop food, some started dropping food off on the avenue."
The community came together, forming a line "approximately 14 blocks long," providing a total of about "18 semi-trucks of food," they continued. They planned to continue distributing food supplies that families can count on as the community heals.
"The response was from people of all backgrounds, serving people of all backgrounds," Williams continued. "This is what we want Minnesota to be about." Donors arrived from as far away as Iowa, and monetary donations were sent from as far as Germany.
Williams estimated that the vital supplies garnered by the donation drop helped some 2,000 local families. Excess nonperishable items, he said, would be stored and distributed at a later date.
"The thankfulness was palpable," Williams reflected. "This area became a food desert in 24 hours with no warning, and people really needed this food immediately. There were tears all around."