At SFY! our mission is “feed, nourish and comfort.” We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. We opened our doors in February 2015 as a soup cafe where all are welcomed to a hearty lunch without regard to age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, housing status, immigration status, religion, socioeconomic status, or physical/mental health condition. We are excited about how the community has come together at Soup For You! over the years. We repeatedly hear our guests and others in the community comment about three main ways we impact the neighborhood.

Providing Nutritious Meals: Food insecurity was a growing issue prior to the pandemic and has now evolved to record levels primarily due to the rising cost of food. As food prices increase, the reliance on processed food with low nutrient value also increases. In addition meals are often skipped as a food budget just doesn’t go as far. We work to provide healthy, nutritious food for people in our community who might not otherwise be able to obtain it. Here’s how we do it:

  • The meals served at SFY! contain real whole food. There is very little processed food used here. This ensures that guests have at least one nutritious meal per day at no cost.
  • On a typical week we distribute enough produce and groceries via our “People’s Cooler” and grocery bag offerings that on average another 100-200 meals can be made out of the items distributed.
  • We often have young people dining with us and also many college-age young adults who volunteer with us. Showing the younger generation that healthy, nutritious food is also tasty is an important part of our work.
  • Often people with limited incomes experience very little choice and food fatigue when they receive the same items repeatedly at the food shelves. By providing flavorful soups (Greek Stew, Cajun Lentil, Sesame Turkey Egg-Drop to name a few), we strive to awaken the senses and provide a variety of flavors while also giving people choices.

Building Community: We firmly believe that strong communities are critical for quality of life. During the pandemic when we couldn’t gather for lunch people were so grateful for the bag lunches we distributed but would regularly say that what they missed most was the community at SFY!. Here’s how we do it:

Community is formed by the bringing together of people. What better place to form community than over a bowl of soup. At SFY! we welcome a mix of people, neighbors from Seward (and beyond), businesspeople, low-income seniors, those experiencing homelessness and/or poverty, and Augsburg students/faculty to name a few. Conversations are shared at the tables and friends are made. For some of our guests, lunch at SFY! is their one opportunity to socialize during the day.

We have an amazing team of volunteers and love to welcome new faces knowing that being a part of SFY! increases their awareness of what people coming together in community can accomplish. In addition, they get to see the impact of food justice issues and lets them experience being part of the solution through their service.

SFY! also conducts outreach and education in our community by speaking at outside events (ex., Faith Mennonite Church) and bringing in groups (ex. Augsburg Nursing Program participants, MN Landscape Arboretum High School Summer Camp Program students) to dine with us and learn about food waste, food insecurity and food justice.

Reducing Food Waste: Did you know that food waste is not just what we scrape off our plates? Factors such as farmers leaving unharvested crops in fields due to low prices or overproduction, problems occurring during the transportation and manufacturing of food, and retailers rejecting food that doesn’t meet appearance or color standards all contribute to 80 million tons of food being wasted each year in the US. That’s enough to make 149 billion meals annually. We ensure that thousands of pounds of food are served or distributed every year instead of landfilled. Here’s how we do it:

  • Our partners supply us with majority of the produce and other ingredients in our delicious soups by procuring local overstocks or non-saleable items that would otherwise be discarded. Most of our side items also begin as organic, often non-saleable ingredients sourced from local stores, bakeries, and cafes. With some culling and editing we create wonderful salads and fruit bowls.
  • All soup is handmade fresh onsite daily using fresh – and primarily organic – ingredients. Most of our broths are made from vegetable peelings from the previous day. We rarely use any processed ingredients which increases the nutrition and greatly decreases the amount of packaging that is discarded.
  • Bags of groceries are prepared and distributed each week with food that has been rescued by our partner organizations as well as the excess produce not used in our soups.