Since 2018, Allianz Life and Keystone Community Services have been working together to address food insecurity in the Twin Cities. With Keystone based in the Midway neighborhood, it only made sense for that relationship to grow with the opening of Allianz Field and then step to the fore with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
For more than a year now, MNUFC, Allianz Life and Keystone have been distributing food through their Free Farmers Market in a Box events. The original plan for these events was to turn the Great Lawn into an open farmers market where families could get donated fresh and pre-packaged goods, but the pandemic turned the plan on its ear and led to a new approach: families in cars would queue up and scores of volunteers would load bags and boxes into their trunks without contact. Through every phase of the still-ongoing pandemic, through civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, the organizations have distributed more than 250,000 pounds of food to over 4,000 households, including 102,906 pounds from May to September this year alone.
This past summer, Allianz Life celebrated its 125th anniversary with a $125,000 matching donation and Minnesota United provided an additional $75,000 both gifts going to support renovation of Keystone's new Community Food Site on University Avenue in Saint Paul’s Midway neighborhood. Chief among the improvements will be simply more space — for receiving and storing donations, for a shopping area to allow people to select foods for their needs, for more volunteer opportunities, for additional services like tax preparation and classes.
“We are truly honored to have such a strong partnership with Minnesota United,” said Keystone President Mary McKoewn. “We are so grateful they have helped host our large food distribution events at Allianz Field, which have expand food resources for people in our community at this time when they are most needed. MNUFC embody what it means to be great neighbors, and we’re grateful for our shared commitment to supporting people in Saint Paul, especially in the Midway neighborhood!”
With one in 11 households in Minnesota affected by hunger, Minnesota United recognizes that fighting food insecurity is a key part of building a stronger community. When basic needs are taken care of, everyone can participate fully in the work of creating a world based on respect and inclusivity.