MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After looting and fires destroyed buildings along Lake Street, people living nearby are finding fewer food options.

Longfellow Market at 38th and Lake is essentially the last remaining grocery store in that neighborhood.

“That’s good to keep it safe for people who live around here. People got kids and stuff so that’s a good thing,” said shopper and neighbor Paula Drain.

With Cub Foods and Target looted on Lake Street, the store has become an oasis for people looking for groceries and medicine.

“Busy, crazy, stressful. Seeing a lot of new faces we haven’t seen before,” said Brad Best.

Best is an employee and a neighbor. He lives a block away from the store.

“We have a ton of volunteers helping us stock. Obviously being the only grocery store right now, stuff is flying off the shelves,” said Best.

For employees it’s work during the day then guard the store at night. There’s been little sleep the past, few days but plenty of hope.

They will work a full day, get a couple hours of sleep at home, then come back and stand guard until the early morning- then work again. They communicate by walkie-talkie to form a citizens’ army of clerks, cashiers and volunteers.

“They are out here protecting the store, I’m glad to see that,” said shopper Bob Helland.

“I am glad they are open. Nobody tried to bust windows or nothing. Tried to rob it or nothing. So I’m glad about that,” said Drain.

Workers here believe better days are ahead. This is their chance to help this neighborhood rebuild and recover.

“My only message would be to stay strong. The neighborhood is going to rebuild. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 15 years, you know we are open,” said Best.

Longfellow Market said about 30 volunteers are helping them stock the store right now to keep up with food demands.

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