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Somali grocery doubles as halal food shelf in St. Cloud

Economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made putting halal food on the table harder for low-income Somali families in St. Cloud area

May 7th 2020 · 1 min read
Somali grocery doubles as halal food shelf in St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD — With assistance from some area organizations, a local grocery store has established a free grocery section to address food insecurity among St. Cloud's Somali residents.

Since April, economic hardships caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic have made putting halal food on the table more difficult for low-income Somali families in the St. Cloud community, said Serdar Mamedov, University of Minnesota Extension educator for health and nutrition programs.

To combat this, an emergency halal food supply has been established at Midnimo Grocery & Halal Meat in St. Cloud.

Mamedov worked with Community Grassroots Solutions, a Waite Park organization that works to improve the lives of refugees and immigrants, to apply for $550 in seed money from the Extension's Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, Mamedov said.

The concept of halal is complex, but when it comes to food, it refers to both the animals themselves and how they are raised and slaughtered. Much of St. Cloud's Somali community is Muslim, and a halal diet is an important part of that, Mamedov said.

At a community food self, if a person is unaware of what ingredients are in a specific food item, they may be more cautious to take it.

At Midnimo, customers already trust offerings will be halal, store owner Noor Yussuf said. Approximately 90% of his customers are Somali, and, like a mom-and-pop-shop, are regulars.

Furthermore, the location is convenient. People already get their food there, Community Grassroots Solutions Executive Director Abdiaziz Odiriye said Monday. Having an emergency halal food supply at the store is a way to maintain dignity and privacy, and it's a chance to get extra food without being judged, Mamedov and Yussuf said.

last updated: 2020-05-07@00:05