Since the pandemic hit in March, operations at VEAP have dramatically shifted. We quickly transitioned to a drive-up food model system in order to limit the number of people in our building and moved all of our social services support to over-the-phone/email communication. To date, VEAP has experienced a 25% increase in demand for food and a 10-fold increase in those needing help paying their rent. With the end of the federal unemployment benefit boost, we expect these numbers to steadily rise.
As Minnesota moves into the cooler months of the year and with COVID-19 still an ever-present reality, VEAP is seeking your support. Outside of food and financial donations, there are many other ways to advance our mission. Below is a round-up of our greatest needs at this time:
• Household paper products (especially paper towels and toilet paper) and household/personal care items (laundry soap, shampoo, disinfectant wipes, hand/body soaps, face masks, sanitizer & vinyl gloves). Many of our visitors receive SNAP benefits to purchase food when they’re not using VEAP’s Pantry and unfortunately, SNAP cannot be used to purchase these basic need items. They always fly off our shelves and are consistently in high demand. To donate these products, please visit Door 4 behind our building anytime Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. No need to make an appointment.
• Cloth masks. VEAP counts on the support of 3,500 volunteers a year and we require all individuals within our facility to wear a mask. Many of our drive-up food visitors also request these face coverings. We are welcoming homemade, cloth masks at Door 2 of our building (Staff and Volunteer entrance) any time during regular business hours.
• Cold weather outdoor items. Come fall, we will be needing hand warmers and gloves for our volunteers, outdoor heaters for use in our tent, road pylons, comfortable chairs for exit/intake area volunteers and light throw blankets. We expect to utilize our drive-up model through at least the end of September and will need to keep our volunteers warm during their shifts. Please donate these items at Door 2 of our building.
If you have further questions about how to best support us at this time, please reach out! Email Caley, [email protected], Marketing and Digital Manager, to start a conversation. Thanks for your support!