Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Donation Benefits Mobile Food Shelf

Ben Haarsager used his Pay It Forward donation to help make sure low-income seniors and people with disabilities have something to eat.

“East Side has deep roots in strengthening the vitality of individuals and communities in Minneapolis, and gifts like Ben’s allow us to sustain that important work.” – Sarah Gruidl with East Side Neighborhood Services

Bell Employee

Ben Haarsager, operations support supervisor



East Side Neighborhood Services High Rise Mobile Food Shelf

The Need

For many who rely on East Side Neighborhood Services’ mobile food shelf, getting to a food shelf or grocery store is difficult.

That’s why East Side is taking the food shelf directly to them.

East Side Neighborhood Services is a nonprofit organization where community members receive support to solve immediate needs or engage multiple strategies to achieve self-sufficiency and stability. Its High Rise Mobile Food Shelf program brings food to 39 low-income apartment buildings in Hennepin County, delivering food to more than 3,100 people – primarily older adults and people with disabilities.

The Impact

When Ben Haarsager learned about the program, he donated his Pay It Forward funds to help.

“I love that more than 30 percent of the donated food is fresh fruits and vegetables,” Ben remarks. “Participants also receive dairy, meat, bread, and other packaged foods, and participants can actually choose what they receive!”

Ben says the biggest reason he supports the program is many of the participants may not have family or friends to check on them, so the High Rise Mobile Food Shelf also helps them socially.

“Through the program, relationships are built with the participants,” he notes. “Someone checks in on them, encourages them and listens to them. This kind of interaction is invaluable to many of the participants, and I appreciate and support their efforts 100 percent!”

By collaborating with food banks, restaurants and stores, Sarah Gruidl says East Side Neighborhood Services is able to use contributions like Ben’s to purchase food at a cost-efficient price.

“Our High Rise Mobile Food Shelf relies on the generosity of Ben and other donors to create food access for families with immediate needs,” Sarah comments.

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