In early 2020, Nydia made the decision to stay home with the birth of her first child. While Nydia and her husband were feeling hopeful about the path forward, the pandemic hit and forced the dream to be put on hold. Without warning, Nydia wasn’t working anymore, her husband was forced to go on unemployment, and the family was facing unforeseeable hardship, trial and tribulation.

While her husband is working now, Nydia said they are still playing catch up. That’s where Loaves & Fishes HUB partner Antioch Community Church comes in.

Antioch partnered with Loaves & Fishes with plans of being a hot meal location but shifted their focus in March of 2020. Every Tuesday they hand out free groceries to the public with all the food coming from the Loaves & Fishes warehouse for 9 cents a pound as a HUB partner.

Pastor of Community Engagement Darrius Hubbard said last month Antioch picked up 3,000 pounds of food from Loaves & Fishes that went out to 142 individuals and families. A feat that couldn’t be accomplished without the Loaves & Fishes partnership.

“This was an entire month of groceries for some families,” Darrius said. “It would cost us thousands and thousands of dollars if we went to the store for that. This is an impact that is felt across the board from the people in the community to our organization’s budget.”

Darrius had worked in hunger before in various nonprofit roles and said it was a no-brainer to look into a partnership with Loaves & Fishes when he started at Antioch. He researched the Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood and the issues facing the community.

“Hunger came up time and time again,” Darrius told us.

For Nydia’s family, free grocery Tuesday has been a huge relief.

“It’s nice not to have to worry about putting as much of our budget towards food,” Nydia said. “We have a little break to put money towards other essentials we need to pay. We are grateful. This is super helpful for our family.”

Darrius said they see a wide variety of members in the community stop by. From individual young adults to full families and senior citizens. He said the word has spread around the neighborhood which is exciting to see.

Retired couple Nancy and Craig proved that on a recent trip. They bumped into a mother who was struggling and told her to follow them to Antioch to pick up groceries.

“It feels like the cost of everything is going up and our income is going down,” Craig said.

The couple have both been retired since 2001 and have applied for food benefits three times. All three times they have been told their income is too high, including being just one dollar over the last time they applied.

“We try to stretch the budget,” Nancy said. “We are downsizing and trying to move.”

Free grocery Tuesday has made the idea of moving more realistic for Nancy and Craig. They have also stopped by the Loaves & Fishes community meal site at Salvation Army Central for free lunches this summer.

The partnership with Antioch is helping the Northeast Minneapolis community and connecting an entire neighborhood in the process.

“It has brought families closer together. We have seen people pick up groceries for each other or tell others to stop by,” Darrius said. “It has been a really powerful way to bring the community together in a time it’s needed here in the Twin Cities.”

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