Three Minneapolis caterers respond to need, provide meals at Simpson Shelter

Posted on March 25th, 2020


March 25, 2020

Media Contact:  Elisabeth Loeffler, cell: (612) 210-2343


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, three Minneapolis caterers step up to provide meals at a homelessness shelter 

Minneapolis, MN:  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Simpson Housing Services began operating their emergency shelter 24 hours a day on March 17. Currently, the shelter is a temporary home to 66 homeless individuals.

“When Governor Walz made the decision to close public spaces, we immediately knew we had to operate the shelter 24 hours a day. Typically, our shelter operates from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. and we didn’t want shelter guests to be forced out in the community each morning during this crisis,” says Simpson Executive Director Steve Horsfield.

Prior to the change in operating hours, Simpson shelter staff had already been implementing the health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Handwashing stations were installed to allow staff and guests to frequently wash their hands, and additional cleaning measures were put in place.

One decision that had to be made quickly was how to provide meals for the shelter guests. For 38 years, Simpson Housing Services has relied on volunteers for meal service at the shelter. Effective March 19, the program was paused, and staff connected with three catering partners to deliver lunch and dinner to the shelter for the next 30 days.

Local Whitter neighborhood restaurant, Provision Community Restaurant, will provide lunches seven days per week and Corporate Caterers of the Twin Cities and E.T. Delectables will provide evening meals on a rotating schedule. The caterers will deliver food to the shelter, and staff will plate and distribute the meals to guests. Cereal is provided for breakfast.

Operating the shelter 24 hours per day and providing meals adds an additional $11,000 per week to the operating budget. Faith organizations and individuals are making donations to help with these added costs. Volunteer groups who regularly prepared and served meals at the shelter are encouraged to help cover the cost of the catered meals.

Local caterer Paul Gordon of Corporate Caterers Twin Cities describes his participation: “It was a no brainer that I would help. I love feeding people. It is my passion. I have access to fresh produce and local foods, and we can easily prepare a healthy dinner for shelter guests. It is what we do for businesses across the metro every day.  Food brings people together and refuels the mind and body. I am so grateful we can help make a difference for people during these challenging times.”

Ebony Turner and her new catering business, E.T. Delectables, will also prepare meals for guests: “I appreciate the opportunity to give and show what I can do. Food is my passion. I enjoy making people happy through food. I like to give a little extra. I want Simpson guests to know that they are getting fresh, quality food cooked from scratch.”

Located less than a mile away from the Simpson Shelter, Provision Community Restaurant will provide lunch daily for the shelter guests. “Within two days, our team launched a plan for serving daily lunches for guests at Simpson’s shelter. Our hearts go out to shelter guests who are struggling during these uncertain times. It is an honor to be a part of this compassionate community,” says Anna Wienke, Founder and Executive Director of Provision Community Restaurant.


About Simpson Housing Services

Simpson Housing Services (SHS) began as an emergency overnight shelter at Simpson United Methodist Church in 1982. Over the last three decades, SHS has become a leading nonprofit providing assistance to people experiencing homelessness. In response to unmet needs, our programs have grown to include emergency shelter, supportive housing for youth, single adults, and families – along with comprehensive educational programming for children.

SHS knows stable housing is key to successful outcomes for people experiencing homelessness. Our holistic approach is focused on long-term stability: first, help families and individuals achieve foundational stability by connecting them with housing; next, help them access resources and services that address needs, such as employment, healthcare, and tutoring and mentoring support for their children; and, finally, help participants build healthy relationship skills, social networks, and internal resources necessary for long-term housing stability.

SHS believes everybody has the right to safe and affordable housing and embraces the uniqueness and dignity of each person. SHS annually serves more than 3,000 people experiencing homelessness and last year:

·       Moved 1,446 people into safe, stable housing.

  • Provided 568 men and women with shelter beds.

·       Supported 275 families with 593 children in our Family Housing program.

For more information about Simpson Housing Services, visit us at