Feeding Our Future: Is all hope lost?

We visit Brooklyn Center, the home of the one success story behind Feeding Our Future.

During the years-long battle between the free-food nonprofit Feeding Our Future and the state Department of Education, the one constant has been the victimhood of Shamsia Hopes.

This Brooklyn Center-based nonprofit was founded in 2015.

Shamsia Hopes (tagline: Feeding Our Youth) has operations elsewhere in the metro area and also provides delivery services for food.

In May 2021, when Feeding Our Future was under temporary suspension and suing MDE for reinstatement, Shamsia Hopes was put forward in the media as the example of the collateral damage being done. For example, the Sahan Journal reported on Shamsia Hopes and its CEO/Founder Mekfira Hussein’s struggles.

At the time, Hussein reported that her group was feeding 5,000 children per day through the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future, with a weekly budget of over $200,000.

When Feeding Our Future was shut down, permanently, in January 2022, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Shamsia Hopes and its scaled-back operation,

Mekfira Hussein is the founder of Shamsia Hopes, one of dozens of sites sponsored by Feeding Our Future. She provides about 800 meals a day at 10 locations in Minneapolis and north metro suburbs. When MDE paused funding to Feeding Our Future, Hussein had to close for a month last year because she didn’t have enough money.

She is quoted about her concerns for the future,

For those of us actually doing the work, it’s sad,” she said. “It’s like you’re taking food off children’s plates and taking it for yourself. It’s hard to believe. If that’s true … it’s heartbreaking.

The following is a list of the 10 sites hosted by Shamsia Hopes under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The nonprofit hosted sites under both the Federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The table shows the maximum registered capacity per site, not the actual meals claimed.

Fortunately, Shamsia Hopes appears to be still up and running and its website and Facebook page still active.

Curiously, the “Donate” button on their webpage appears to be disabled. The organization does not appear to be registered with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office.

Records on file with the Internal Revenue Service indicate that the organization was granted tax-exempt status in 2016. That status was revoked in 2018 for failure to file required Form 990 tax returns. Tax-exempt status was reinstated in 2021. To date, there are no tax returns on file for the organization.

Unrelated to Shamsia Hopes, on our way out of town, we stopped by the location of another Feeding Our Future distribution site in Brooklyn Center, 5701 Shingle Creek Parkway.

This mid-rise office tower hosted two free-food distribution sites, both operated by newly-formed nonprofits.

Inevitably, the Shingle Creek building also houses fourteen (14) personal care assistant (PCA) businesses. Of the fourteen, eight (8) are current vendors to the state Department of Human Services.

Together, the PCA businesses at this address take in more than $3.4 million for taxpayers, each year.

Digging deeper.