In the alleged Feeding Our Future scandal, the role of S&S Catering, Part 1

Much of the attention in the Feeding Our Future scandal has focused on the role of Safari Restaurant. The Safari group is just one of three networks within Feeding Our Future that were each the subject of a separate FBI search warrant. Each free food fraud network is built around a different food vendor, according to the FBI.

Safari gets the most attention because of the close connections between the Minneapolis restaurant and the highest levels of Minneapolis city government. Although the nonprofit company Feeding Our Future has disbanded, not one person has been arrested or charged in the alleged scandal.

The S&S Catering network has its own interesting, if more obscure, political connections, which will be explored in Part 2. S&S and related entities were the subject of FBI search warrant no. 2 in the case, also executed on Jan. 20. The FBI claims that S&S took almost $14 million out of the federal food programs in 2020 and 2021.

According to records held by the Minnesota Secretary of State, S&S Catering was founded in November 2018 by Qamar Ahmed Hassan and is located at 307 E. Lake Street in Minneapolis. (Hang in there, these addresses are important to the story). In October 2021, she founded S&S Distribution Co., located at 309 E. Lake Street.

Also located at 309 E. Lake Street are three other businesses. Benadir Hall is a wedding and event venue incorporated in December 2020. Their website is no longer active. Also located in the same office suite is the nonprofit Academy for Youth Excellence, incorporated in November 2020. Finally, The Hope Academy for Youth and Women Empowerment was incorporated in May 2021.

The mailing address for all three companies is a townhouse in St. Anthony that was searched by the FBI.

A fifth business, the Minnesota Senior Center, is registered at that same 309 address.

Here is an old photo of the building,

Coincidentally, this building is about a block away from Safari Restaurant.

Feeding Our Future claimed the building as an address for a number of operations. S&S Catering claimed the capacity to serve up to 3,000 children per day at the 307 address (second awning on the left) through the Summer Food Service Program. In addition, S&S Catering claimed to be serving other locations with meals for both Feeding Our Future and another nonprofit network, Partners in Nutrition.

Here is a list of the locations claimed by S&S Catering under the summer program, for both FY 21 and FY 22

MDE made an attempt in October 2020 to shut down the S&S Catering operation. Liban Childcare is owned by the same people who own Academy for Youth Excellence.

Under the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), at the 309 address, (awning on the far left), Academy for Youth Excellence claimed the ability to serve up to 500 children per day. At the same time and same address, the Hope Academy claimed the ability to serve up to an additional 500 meals. The Minnesota Senior Center claimed the capacity to serve an additional 50 people through that address.

In the Summer of 2021, Academy for Youth Excellence claimed to have the ability to serve 1,000 children per week on Saturdays through the 309 address under the Summer Food Program provided by S&S Catering, next door.

The FBI search warrants claim that the individuals behind S&S Catering used ill-gotten gains from the two food programs to purchase the building shown above for $3 million. In addition, the group purchased other properties in Minneapolis, purchased automobiles, and spent an another $500,000 to buy an apartment in Nairobi, Kenya.

Continue to examine the alleged S&S operation in Part 2.