Somali Group Pushes For Non-Pork Food Shelf

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Food shelves can be a life line for people dealing with poverty and hunger.

But many in the Somali-American community say finding a food shelf that caters to their religious dietary restrictions is almost impossible.

“Some food shelves are trying to meet the need, but some of them already got canned beans that have already been mixed with pork — and there is a literacy issue here,” said community activist Fartun Weli.

A group of first-generation Somali Americans says they need help in developing a food shelf that specializes in healthy foods that do not contain pork or pork byproducts.

“It’s about human rights also, basic human rights to get the proper food and also healthy food,” said Imam Hassan Mohamud.

With signs in hand, they marched to the Hennepin County commissioners’ office to ask Peter McLaughlin for help. Most live in his district and feel he can help them help themselves.

McLaughlin and the group disagree over the availability of halal or kosher food at food shelves in Minnesota.

He did say they would need to petition all county commissioners for the money to make this food shelf a reality.

“The place to deal with this is going to be within the budget … our budget for next year,” McLaughlin said.

To get the food shelf up and running will cost $150,000, but McLaughlin says there is no plan on how much would be needed to sustain it.

The group hopes to present a proposal to the county commissioners during its budget meeting on Nov 13.

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