Keystone Community Services

St. Paul, Minnesota

November 12, 2020

Joanna Levin

Despite being a new hire at Keystone Community Services (KCS), Emmanuel C. Njoku has made a big impact serving the community of St. Paul, Minnesota. Emmanuel is the program manager for the basic needs program at KCS, where he primarily works to coordinate the organization, donation, and delivery of food to community members. He achieves this aim by organizing community events in partnership with organizations like Allianz, Second Harvest, and The Food Group. While KCS is a small organization, Emmanuel proudly reflects on the number of services it offers such as food relief, crisis assistance, and even provides a full service bike shop provided through their youth services program. KCS serves between 30 and 40 people a day in each of their food shelves located in the St. Paul metropolitan area. Emmanuel remarked on how KCS was proud to partner with The Farmlink Project in the coordination and delivery of 2,500 pounds of squash and pumpkins on November 5 to their Rice street and Midway locations.

As Minnesota temperatures continue to drop in the coming weeks, Emmanuel worries about the challenges that KCS may face throughout the upcoming winter season. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, people are required to socially distance while waiting in line, causing the lines to grow longer and more people to have to wait outside in the cold. As a result, Emmanuel and KCS team are working hard to decrease wait times such that participants of their programs can receive adequate food while spending less time waiting outside in the cold.

Emmanuel was surprised to see an increase in food donations since the pandemic hit—a time during which he had expected a steep drop in donations. “[COVID-19] has made people get more involved and see that there is a huge need to be filled, which has driven more empathy and consequently, more donations.” While there is currently no shortage of food on Keystone’s shelves, Emmanuel emphasized that since the winter months are often harder on the St. Paul community, coupled with the uncertainty of COVID-19, more donations will be vital throughout the upcoming season and beyond to ensure that everyone is adequately nourished.

We at The Farmlink Project are incredibly proud to work with organizations like KCS that passionately help reach and feed communities during challenging and uncertain times like these.