The free-food empire strikes back
The suspended nonprofit Partners in Nutrition wins a round in its appeal against the state Dept. of Education. One of three free-food nonprofits suspended in the wake of the Feeding…
Our free-food fraud tour of the state brings us to the central Minnesota city of St. Cloud. This city of 69,000 sits about an hour and a half (by car) from Minneapolis, upriver on the Mississippi.
Despite its relatively small size, St. Cloud has its own commercial airport, state university, and more than 100 free-food distribution sites registered with the state’s Department of Education (MDE). So many, in fact, that the following graphic had to consolidate listings for participating nonprofits to fit into a single table—
The city has a maximum daily capacity to serve more than 22,000 in each of two federal free-food programs, the school-year Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). This level of free food distribution might is more than adequate to feed the city’s population of children of 14,000.
Not included in the above totals are additional facilities operated by individual childcare facilities and churches operating independently of the big networks.
The Olive Management site is listed separately above, as it was specifically mentioned in FBI search warrants made public in January (cf. paragraph 107, page 33). MDE records indicate the vendor for the St. Cloud site was Safari Restaurant in Minneapolis.
To date, not a single person has been arrested or charged in the alleged fraud.
Olive Management claimed a maximum capacity of 2,000 children per day, good enough for only second place in St. Cloud. In the MDE database, the largest location listed for St. Cloud is a storefront on St. Germain Street, at 2,500. Here is an old picture of the building.
St. Cloud hosted sites sponsored by all three free-food nonprofits suspended by the state Department of Education — Feeding Our Future, Partners in Nutrition, and Youth Leadership Academy.
The local school district hosted sites able to serve up to 9,000 children per day. Local private and charter schools could add another 2,000. St. Cloud is also home to a significant dedicated free-food nonprofit, The Yes Network.