Mankato nonprofits, organizations come together to fight homelessness, hunger

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Hunger and homelessness are ongoing issues across the United States, including in our own backyard.

“I think a lot of people in our world today, walk around with blinders on, right, where they are focusing on themselves. They would probably use a phrase, ‘I’m just staying in my lane,’” explained Lt. Andy Wheeler of the Mankato Salvation Army.

“People think, ‘oh, we don’t really have homelessness because it is really hidden,’” Rev. Erica Koser, co-director at Connections Shelter.

That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important to shed some light on these topics, which is what this week is all about.

Nov. 13-21 is Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. It’s an educational tool for cities all over the nation.

“They are individuals, they are human beings. It’s good to have a week here where we can focus primarily on those issues,” Wheeler added.

The Mankato Salvation Army and Connections Shelter are just two examples of how this week helps them in the Greater Mankato Area.

“Prevalent in our community, it may look a little different than it might in the metro, but it is here, and we are serving homeless people. People are experiencing homelessness every single night,” Koser said.

Even Minnesota State University, Mankato is getting involved, hosting events like their chili cook-off, where proceeds go to the Campus Kitchen. They’re also hosting their annual Homelessness Awareness Sleep Out and Can Jam 2 Food Drive.

This week is just one piece of the puzzle in the fight against homelessness and hunger.

“I think we can probably do better than just a week. I think they deserve our attention and our concern every day,” Wheeler said.

“This is the busiest that we have ever been. We are seeing more people, we have already started our waiting list, which usually doesn’t come until polar vortex season,” Koser said.

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