Our free-food fraud tour brings us to Minnesota’s third largest city. Home of the famed Mayo Clinic, a large IBM facility, and a campus of the University of Minnesota, the city of 121,000 has enough free-food capacity to feed almost a third of its total population.
Not one person has been arrested or charged in the scandal. The controversy involves two federal food programs: the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Both are overseen in Minnesota by the state Department of Education (MDE). Databases maintained by MDE show the following free-food capacity for Rochester:
Rochester has about 30,000 children within its borders. Out of an abundance of caution, the public school district registered enough summer food capacity with MDE to serve more than its enrolled student population of 17,000 and nearly enough to serve all the children in town.
Rochester hosts sites by all three free-food networks shut down by the state government: Feeding Our Future, Partners in Nutrition, and Youth Leadership Academy.
The largest summer food site in Rochester was sponsored by Youth Leadership Academy and hosted by the nonprofit Somali Community Resettlement Services. The sites, said to be capable of serving 2,500 children per day, is located at the nonprofit’s Rochester office, shown on its website—