On May 29, 2020, members of the Radical Roots Collective put a folding table out on Franklin Avenue with food, supplies, and signage. The Minneapolis Police Department had murdered George Floyd and the city was reacting in protest. As a collectively owned and operated restaurant, our response was to cook food and share the resources we had. This initial reaction grew rapidly into a massive donation and distribution hub for prepared foods, groceries, PPE and hygiene items, household goods and basic necessities. Our neighbors, who are primarily East African immigrants and refugees, Indigenous people and houseless people, had limited access to basic necessities, and the specific needs and desires were presented to us clearly. Our neighborhood grocery stores were damaged, but our neighbors were already under strain due to the Covid-19 pandemic, white supremacy, language barriers and age and mobility issues.
Through the winter of 2020-21, we scaled back, budgeted ahead of time, and made monthly deliveries to 200 different families who asked that we convert to deliveries due to conditions. The majority of these families were within a quarter-mile of our building, along Franklin Avenue, and in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
Beginning May 31, 2021, the Free Store is open weekly from 12-2. We are so thankful for everyone who has volunteered, donated, participated, and shared information about this endeavor. Keep an eye here or on our Instagram page to stay updated.
We can’t do this work without financial support!