Division of Indian Work Hosts Second Annual LEAP Benefit

The group dedicated to empowering urban American Indians raises funds for a culturally sensitive food shelf

A group of three men talking in a circle at the 2017 LEAP benefit.
Feeding those in need

photos by haley friesen

On February 27, the Division of Indian Work hosted the second annual LEAP benefit at the Metropolitan Club in Golden Valley. The Division empowers urban American Indians through education, counseling, advocacy, and leadership development. Funds raised will be used to purchase food for Horizons Unlimited, a culturally sensitive food shelf. 

LeVi Boucher: I’m a youth worker in south Minneapolis. Young people are in survival mode if their families are hungry. But if they’re fed—with nutritional foods, rather than commodities as they were in the past—our youth have the opportunity to take advantage of the programs we offer. 

Maren Hardy: I run the food shelf that this event is sponsoring. Right now our budget is so limited. Last year, we raised enough to feed people for the whole year—three days a week, three hours a day. This year, we’re hoping to stay open for four days a week, five hours a day. To tell people we don’t have food is horrible. We shouldn’t have to do that. 

Joseph Regguinti: I work for the Division of Indian Work with the domestic violence prevention program. We hold groups for men, teaching them a culturally based curriculum and skills to prevent the cycle of violence. The food shelf feeds a lot of the families that we interact with. 

Noya Woodrich: I worked at the Division of Indian Work for 22 years. We were always looking for an opportunity to have an event that would support the programs we offer. The food shelf has always had the most need—and it’s always growing.

Abel Martinez: I help make moccasins for native babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Minnesota. It’s my first time at a big fundraiser—it’s a whole new experience for me.

As told to Brigitta Greene