MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When 2020 started its seemingly relentless mission to prove uncertainty, The Sanneh Foundation’s founder Tony Sanneh knew he had to prove he could adapt, fast.

“The first thought was, we serve 36,000 meals here, how do we keep getting those to the families?” Tony Sanneh said.

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Most people who know of Tony know him as the retired professional soccer player, running free camps in the summer. For him, his purpose has always been about more than about sports — it’s tutoring, it’s meals.

“And jobs,” Sanneh explained. “Some of the youth here in the summer make more money than their parents and we had some kids making $450-500 a week serving the community.”

“This was pretty much a dining room for kids to eat,” Tiino W said.  “Now it’s been transformed into a food shelf.”

Tiino organizes food deliveries to families affected by COVID  — sorting routes, running logistics.

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Samuel leads one of the academic programs, offering the type of help he wanted when he moved here from Nigeria as a kid.

“I know that if I could sit down and give you a minute of my time and listen to you… I know that you’d calm down and things like that,” Samuel Bangura explained.

The foundation hit its stride about a month into the pandemic and will keep adapting despite it. This December, it’ll open part of its new indoor and outdoor soccer fields at St Paul’s Conway Center.

And this week, Conway got a virtual learning lab for kids who need reliable technology. With a reliable mentor, to match.

The Sanneh Foundation has volunteer and donation opportunities available, learn more here.

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Christiane serves as the co-chair for the non-profit’s associate board which is a voluntary group of young professionals.