Co-op Employee Will Open America’s Eyes To Poverty

 One cashier at Valley Natural Foods, Mandy Mulder, is planning a 48-state, 90-day road trip across America this May, and no, it isn’t a vacation.

Mandy Mulder isn’t going to be staying in luxurious hotels and laying out on sandy tropical beaches as others her age might. Instead, Mandy will be going across the country as a homeless person,  staying in shelters on a journey she is calling “Mission America”. With only a car and a few changes of clothes, she will be doing an act of service in each location she visits.

The goal of her trip is to inspire people to not just feel bad about homeless people but to feel bad enough to do something. She wants people to be moved enough to go down to the shelter in their community and serve.  Because she is videotaping her entire journey and has the aid of a Minneapolis production company to produce it, she hopes that this documentary will help people better understand what it is like to live in poverty and how to provide assistance.

Passionate about poverty and homelessness since she was a little girl, Mandy says that Americans are neglecting those starving in own country. The Minnesota FoodShare’s March Campaign provides only a snapshot of what is a much larger problem across our country. Today, 15.5 million children are living in poverty in America — the highest child poverty rate the nation has seen since 1959. Recently released U.S. Census Bureau data confirmed our worst fears about the impact of the recent recession-nearly 4 million Americans fell into poverty last year.

In May 2011, once she has raised enough funds through various means, including her Facebook page, her 90-day journey will commence in Minneapolis. She will then work her way to the east coast then head south, making a circle across the U.S., staying one to two days in each location. She is currently in the process of researching what cities she will stop in. Poverty statistics, income rates, and shelter security levels (she wants to ensure her own safety) play a big part in her choices. Besides doing acts of service at each location, Mandy is hoping to raise enough money to leave behind some sort of dollar amount at each place she visits, perhaps enough to pay somebody’s rent or electric bill.

To follow Mandy’s entire journey or to donate funds, please visit her Facebook page at

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