Duluth nonprofit joins forces with DPD to fight child food insecurity

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:11 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Project Joy is a Duluth nonprofit fighting against child food insecurity in the Northland for the last 12 years.

The idea came after Project Joy co-founder Laura Plys lost her husband to brain cancer and wanted to turn her grief into action.

As a mom and grandmom herself, she turned her attention to feeding the youth.

“It was something that wasn’t really being addressed at the time,” said Plys. “And there were a lot of really good things that could have been funded.”

Project Joy is funded by community support.

They create partnerships with local organizations and provide them grants so they can distribute grocery store giftcards to families in need.

Their newest partnership is with the Duluth Police Department’s School Resource Officers.

Duluth Police Department SROs believe that both organizations will benefit by teaming up.

“It’s kind of the perfect opportunity just because of the relationships that they have with the kids and the families and the firsthand experiences that they’re kind of on the frontlines of seeing this stuff,” said SRO Supervisor Officer Mike Jambor.

The SROs can now hand out gift cards directly to families in need which was not possible before.

“When we’ve run into instances like this, really all we can do is refer people to food shelters so we don’t have that immediate, you can leave here and go to the store and get food for the table tonight, type of opportunity to provide them,” said Jambor.

Now there are no barriers between seeing the need and providing the means to feed.

“They’re going to have access to the money right away,” said Plys. “They don’t have to come through us and wait until someone can get it to them. They have it now on hand.”

Project Joy urges any organization that wants to partner with them to reach out.

Their website can be found here.

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