MIRF Grantees

Brooklyn United Methodist Church is in the center of protests and trauma in Brooklyn Center, and is supplying needs of the community through their food bank. They are offering meals, support, counseling, and solidarity with those in the community who cannot access basic needs because of the unrest and police presence. The grant will support this important work in solidarity with the BIPOC community in Brooklyn Center.

George Floyd Square is many things to many people – an autonomous protest zone, a memorial, a sacred space, or a “no-go zone” according to some media. It is also “a village.” The space is really all about the people – it has been created and maintained by the community, and the way to support George Floyd Square and the movement it represents is to invest in the people who are leading it.  Organic Oneness received the grant on behalf of the volunteer(s) carrying out the community building activities;

this request will be used to support the ongoing community-building, healing, and relief efforts at George Floyd Square, including:

Black History Months events: As a part of the ongoing educational efforts at George Floyd Square, there were some activities and events in recognition of Black History Month, celebrating Black excellence by remembering and learning more about important people and events in the African diaspora.

Community-building initiatives: A critical part of maintaining the movement at George Floyd Square is building relationships between those that hold space. There was a luncheon for sanitation station volunteers and community members over the summer, and additional events will be held in the winter and spring.

Mutual aid: to the food pantry at the Baha’i Center, and in addition to connecting them with The Sheridan Story for food donations, there have been several successful supply drives and toy giveaways for the community. A portion of the funding will go toward keeping the hygiene supplies stocked at the Baha’i Center.

The Agape Movement was established in June of 2020. Agape is a Greek term that means “the highest form of love” and represents the way we love and care for this community. Our goal with the Agape Movement is to bring progressive hope and opportunity to both youth and adults who have felt disenfranchised due to challenging economic and employment opportunities, or lack thereof. We focus on providing community safety and violence prevention, but also personal and professional opportunities among our members. We want to give people an opportunity to give back to and support their community.   Current programs include:

Community Safety and Social Defense: We serve as an umbrella organization, providing security training opportunities for young adults. This includes de-escalation training, mental health intervention, and crowd control. We have literally placed ourselves in the line of fire to protect our communities, deescalated situations, and intervened in disputes to prevent violence.

Violence Prevention: We know from personal experience the circumstances that can drive people to violence, and a lot of it has to do with lack of resources and support. We therefore focus on preventing further violence by creating job/training opportunities through personal interaction (boots on the ground). Our organization also provides resources that will assist residents with their daily needs, such as housing, food, mental health, education, and advocacy.

Mentorship and Development: In order to join the Agape Movement, members must make a public commitment to protect and be accountable to community. We are public figures on the ground, in the streets, and we expect our members to represent what we stand for as an organization – turning street energy into community energy. We want to create an opportunity for individuals to develop and grow through their work with us, and to foster intergenerational mentor relationships.

As a new organization, this grant will cover critical start-up costs for our first months of operations. We need an operating budget for providing a consistent security presence in the community – to cover the costs of rent and utilities for a space at the George Floyd Square, continue events and programming to build community among neighbors, and provide equipment for street and office operations. This will allow us to continue our current programs and activities, which have been provided for free and in some cases at a personal cost to our members, and also to grow into new program areas to do education and organizing for systemic change and host cultural competency conversations.

Photo: Laurie, Reggie, and Leon

Heads Up Health USA is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides high quality medical testing and safety HIPAA protected medical follow-up service to underserved and underinsured communities.  These services are provided at no cost.

We are currently providing Covid-19 PCR testing to the George Floyd residential area through a mobile testing walkup site. With the help of our corporate sponsors and volunteers, we also provide referral services for covid-19 related funding needs, such as medical, housing and food disparities. We have successfully been able to slow the spread of covid-19 in the George Floyd area by detecting and isolating asymptomatic young adults and children that test positive. We are able to get folks back to work and school and help them make better decisions as to virtual or in person classes. We have provided these services without government funding or support.

The grant will be used to continue helping our community in fast approaching winter months, for winterizing tents, volunteer expenses and reimbursements.

Featured: Reggie Ferguson (Agape Movement); Tahasha Harpole (Minneapolis Central Neighborhood Collaborative); Jaana Hull (Heads Up Health USA) and Laurie Pound-Feille.

The unrest in Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd has left many low-income Latines* unemployed. Before the murder, Lake Street had a thriving Latine business community. Sadly, much of this community was destroyed, and many business owners have yet to receive any compensation for what they lost. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented many Latines who were previously employed in the Lake Street community from finding employment elsewhere. As a result, many local Latine families are experiencing a financial crisis, and many are facing the risk of eviction. Centro Tyrone Guzman has a waiting list of families with children, ages 3-24, who are in need of financial support, including many who are at high risk of homelessness.

100% of the requested funds will be distributed directly to Latine families in need, with $4,000 for mortgage or rent payments and $1,000 to buy diapers to distribute to families. For each family, we already have a completed intake form on file, with demographic information and a description of their need. In the case of rent/mortgage assistance, we will issue checks directly to the proprietor.

We thank you so much for your commitment to our community, especially during this very difficult time.

*Centro Tyrone Guzman has chosen to use “e” in place of the Spanish-language masculine ”o” to include people of all genders. We are committed to gender inclusion and recognize the important contributions that all persons make to our communities.

Photo from left Laurie Pound-Feille and Roxana Linares, Executive Director

In the first days of the uprising following the police murder of George Floyd, Eliza Wesley was called to be of service at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. She participated in the early days of protest, but found her place at the north entrance to the George Floyd Memorial zone – at 37th Street near the Baha’i Center of Minneapolis – directing visitor traffic and keeping people safe. Since before there were concrete barricades and metal hedgehogs blocking the north end of Chicago Avenue, Eliza was there to prevent vehicles from driving into the space and greet visitors as they arrived. She supports the food shelf that Baha’i Center has set up and covers the entry station that helps keep the memorial a safe, sanitary, sustainable, and sacred site. As visitors arrive at the memorial they are offered a face mask, hand sanitizer, and in the case of the North entrance – a cold beverage and a snack from Eliza. There is information about how to visit the space as a white ally, while centering black mourning and healing. Eliza acts as an ambassador, tour guide, and information booth for the site – everybody knows the gatekeeper. As a woman of faith, she has selflessly served this community for over 70 days, barely taking a day off.   The funds will be used for 1) reimbursements for food and supply expenses (ice, drinks, water, sanitation), 2) labor over the course of 80 days (traffic control, health and safety protocol), 3) replacement pop-up/farmers market tents, sand bags, and plywood to secure

The neighborhood organizations and other community groups will continue to make the long-term plans for the site, and keep their eyes on the prize of seeking justice for George Floyd.

Photo from left: Eliza Wesley and Tim Hart-Andersen

This effort will support the people who are experiencing homelessness and have been working to increase safety around George Floyd Square.  It will be used for cash assistance to these BIPOC folks who are experiencing a tough time during COVID and the pandemic to be used for food and shelter.

Photo from left: Jia Starr Brown, Marcia Howard

Beginning October 17th, “Our Village Reunion” will be a Saturday distribution site responding to the great need for relationship, toiletries, baby items, and household supplies, stemming from the uprisings that resulted from the killing of George Floyd. Not a transactional event, this weekly distribution site creates space for mutual caring, sharing, and relationship.   It is intended to become a village – a mutually loving family that truly cares for the well-being of the other.

Several local faith communities have committed to providing support, space, and volunteers for this initiative. Operating out of First Covenant Church, work is already underway with the coordination of volunteers and vendors, and sign-up slots for community members in need.

This grant will help with operation costs, including but not limited to: establishment of a communication channel for community members in need, delivery fees for vendors as they deliver needed items, website maintenance, and signage.

People Serving People is Minnesota’s largest and most comprehensive emergency shelter for families and a dedicated leader in homelessness prevention.  Our innovative, multiservice facility in downtown Minneapolis has 99 emergency housing units and 10 two-bedroom supportive housing apartments. We average 334 guests per night. The majority of our guests are children; the average age of a child staying at our shelter is seven years old. We provide support during the immediate crisis situation and also equip families with the resources and skills to achieve long-term success. Funding from the Minneapolis Interfaith Relief Fund will help People Serving People make a difference in the lives of families experiencing homelessness.

PSP will use the funds to continue to provide housing, meals, and comprehensive Family Support Services to guests staying in our shelter. The goal of these services is to help families secure housing, find employment, and educate their children. We are dedicated to providing programs for our guests that engage them and build a foundation for success outside of the shelter system.

Other background:  Affordable housing continues to be a significant barrier for families who are unemployed, underemployed, or not earning a livable wage. According to the Minnesota Housing Partnership’s State of the State’s Housing 2019 report, the median earnings for most of the top in-demand and high-growth jobs throughout Minnesota do not cover housing costs for a two-bedroom apartment or the mortgage for a median-value home. The American Community Survey shows that today’s renters in Minneapolis experience rents that are 13% higher but incomes that are 5% lower compared to those renting in 2000. More than 1 in 4 Minnesota households are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Cost burden also impacts households of color more heavily: 40% of households of color experience cost burden compared to 23% of white households.

High-quality early childhood education is the foundation for kindergarten readiness and beyond, but the high cost of tuition is a barrier to many Minneapolis children accessing this vital stepping-stone. According to Child Care Aware of America, the average annual full-time cost for center-based child care for an infant in Minnesota is almost double the recommended maximum family expenditure for childcare.

Photo from left: Laurie Pound-Feille, Erin Devereaux

The ACTION Project (A Commitment To Inclusion in Our Neighborhoods) is a yearlong project of shared learning and accountability for local congregations in the Twin Cities, designed by Rev. Jia Starr Brown. She developed this project in response to the ongoing requests from local congregations who are reeling from the uprisings and seeking ways to bring justice and change in their congregations and in the community.

In October, 2020 each faith community will take the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) and journey together learning and growing from a variety of events, book groups, and community-based activities. Then, a year later all participating congregations will retake the IDI assessment once again to gauge their growth. As a Qualified Administrator, Rev. Starr Brown will provide the IDI assessment to each congregation.

The grant will provide an appropriate honorarium to community educators, historians and social justice activists as they share their wisdom with participating congregations throughout the ACTION Project over the course of the next year.  Faith communities who will participate in whole or in part:

-Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

-Linden Hills UCC

-First Covenant Church

-Solomon’s Porch

-Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church

-*one more local congregation pending*

Photo from left: Jia Starr Brown, Laurie Pound-Feille

612 MASH provides direct relief to BIPOC folks that have been affected by the death of George Floyd and pandemic in the form of primary medical care in emergency situations, and providing food and water.  They will use the funds to create emergency winter kits with hand warmers, bus cards, basic first aid and toiletries.  They also assist people getting out of domestic violence situations and want to offer gift cards for food and bus passes. They also need to purchase medical supplies.

The Somali Counseling Center/Metro Behavioral Health on Lake Street was burned down in the May riots. They will use the funds to refurbish space so that they can start seeing clients again.

We request funding from the Minneapolis Interfaith Relief Fund to support the “Becoming a Man” initiative we are piloting in the neighborhoods around 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. Through positive role models and mentorship, we can support young people, especially young men, who are struggling through the transition from adolescence to adulthood. There are a variety of temptations and influences that could lead them down a destructive path, which are that much more heightened by the pandemic and school closures, lack of job opportunities, and the trauma related to the killing of George Floyd and so many black and brown people before him in this community.

Description of the need: Young men, especially those who have grown up in poverty, need assistance and support to make the transition from adolescence to responsible adulthood. The activities in this curriculum are intended to help create a supportive environment in which young men have: 1) the opportunity to spend time with other young men dealing with similar issues and problems; 2) support when feeling scared, overwhelmed or depressed – emotions that men don’t usually get “permission” to express; and 3) access to mentors that have been through the same issues they are dealing with, who can also connect them to resources and professionals that may be helpful to them. The five sessions in each module address many of the attitudes that inhibit youth’s ability to accept responsibility.  Issues covered include self-awareness, values, perceptions of manhood, stereotypes, and self-sufficiency. The general goal is to help youth come to grips with his personal attitude and behavior before approaching the full responsibility of adulthood.

Photo from left: Tim Hart-Andersen and Marquise Bowie

Funding will be used for participant stipends, t-shirts, laptops, and food for the duration of the program (25 sessions in five modules).  This funding will be matched by financial support from neighborhood organizations and other funding sources, which will cover the Program Director salaries and other operating expenses.

In the beginning of the uprising that was spurred by the murder of George Floyd, many local clergy women of color were experiencing personal challenges while serving on the front lines. They were attempting to navigate the tension they were experiencing in providing pastoral care to congregation members and community members – both white and people of color – while also carrying their own personal trauma.

Pastoral care has included not only listening, but also matching each clergy woman of color with a fellow clergy woman of color in another part of the country who was not serving on the front lines in their own contexts.  These “sister pastors” and have been connecting since the beginning of June.

Since this work is a marathon, this request for funds will support ten to thirteen local clergy of color in taking a needed respite from their ministries; including several days together at a mediation retreat. This much-needed respite will provide an opportunity for pause before returning to the critical ministries the clergy oversee on a daily basis.

Photo from left: Jia Starr Brown, Jeremy Drews

United Theological Seminary (UTS) is excited to have the largest number of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students in years. Many of these students are entering seminary as a call to intersect their social justice work with their religious and spiritual affiliations. All of them have been impacted by the pandemic and the loss of income, due to closures, cutbacks and layoffs. Many work in the gig economy, the arts, and for non-profits who are struggling.

These students are committed to their education, but need help in purchasing books for their courses. Funding support for BIPOC seminarians to continue their education would be a game changer for these folks. Developing them as future leaders will also further our local community’s resource of trained leaders ready to tackle the challenges ahead. These funds would be sent to UTS and BIPOC students would receive Amazon gift cards to purchase their books.

Photo: Jia Starr Brown, Karen Hutt

The American Friends Service Committee is focused on doing anti-racism work and disrupting the cradle to prison pipeline.  They are planning a camp for twenty black Minneapolis youth, ages 14-23, focusing on trauma, organizing, understanding systems, truth and reconciliation, self-sufficiency, and connecting with elders.  They will prepare the youth to have the language to talk to their teachers about what they have experienced in Minneapolis this summer.    

Much of the program will take place at Phelps Park.  The grant will help cover the costs of food for the event.  The catering company they are using, Chopped and Served, is run and owned by a young black woman, who is also a student.

Photo from left: Jia Starr Brown, Brynne Crockett, Program Associate

Power Wireless is a small, immigrant-owned cellphone business on Lake Street in Minneapolis.  During the unrest this spring, it was hit by opportunistic burglars who destroyed the store’s inventory, safes, counters and glass.  The owner did not have insurance, as insurance companies had decided a small cellphone shop on Lake Street was too high-risk to insure.

The grant will be used to rebuild the store and to replenish inventory, and to assist the Ethiopian owner in re-starting his business.

On June 9, 2020, more than 200 unsheltered people seeking refuge and sanctuary at the former Sheraton Minneapolis Midtown Hotel were effectively evicted from the premises, leaving them — once again — with no safe shelter, in the midst of a pandemic.

Since then, community members, volunteers and housing activists have coordinated a rapid emergency response, pushing the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to deem all Minneapolis park land as sanctuary for unsheltered people and arranging for food, water, sanitation, community safety patrols, medical support and supportive services onsite. This effort began at Powderhorn Park, and has now reached a growing number of parks throughout the city.

Zakat, Aid and Charity Assisting Humanity (ZACAH) is a Minnesota based, 501c (3), non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to the collection and distribution of Zakat and Sadaqah (charity) to anyone in need in our Minnesota community. Zakah is working in close partnership with the residents and organizers at the Minneapolis Sanctuary to provide immediate financial relief and move the most vulnerable residents — especially women and children — into hotels.  Zakah echoes Sanctuary organizers’ demands that the county, city and state take on the responsibility of providing hotels as temporary, transitional housing to keep people safe until there are real, dignified housing options.

Al-Imam `Ali ibn al-Husayn (a. s.) said: “These are your duties towards your neighbor: Protect his interests when he is absent; show him respect when he is present; help him when he is inflicted with any injustice. Do not remain on the look-out to detect his faults; and if, by any chance, you happen to know any undesirable thing about him, hide it from others; and, at the same time, try to desist him from improper habits, if there is any chance that he will listen to you. Never leave him alone at any calamity. Forgive him, if he has done any wrong.”

This grant, designated as “Minneapolis Sanctuary Response,” will be used to directly support the unsheltered residents at Sanctuaries in Minneapolis.

Community Kitchen was created to address unmet food needs of the unsheltered, the majority of whom are people of color or indigenous, who were residing in Powderhorn Park.

Recently the encampment was spread out over 38+ Minneapolis parks. Community Kitchen started as one person cooking food in their own kitchen and has grown to approximately 20 volunteer slots per week. Fresh and mostly made-from-scratch meals are now prepared at The First Congregational Church thanks to their donated kitchen space in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. These meals are then individually packaged and brought to the centralized food distribution site and delivered to the various parks. Our menu is heavily driven by donated supplies and overstock fruits and veggies. Money is raised weekly to supplement donated food and packing materials. This grant will be used to:

  • Ensure funds are available to purchase supplemental products and meats
  • Change individual packaging materials from styrofoam to biodegradable
  • Increase volume and frequency of meals produced beyond the 20 current volunteer slots,
  • Cover emergency food needs in encampments
  • Produce special meals to meet diet restrictions

NCBC Food Shelf is located at New Creation Baptist Church 1414 E. 48th St. in Minneapolis. We have no boundaries and serve Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding suburbs.

This grant will be used to purchase PPE supplies, food, and household items. We went from passing out 20,000 lbs. to 34,500 lbs. of food / month due to the pandemic. 98% of our clients live at the 300% poverty level.

Due to increasing challenges we provide delivery of food to the sick and shut ins, as well as those who are disabled, seniors and those without transportation.

From left: Pastor Dan McKizzie, Laurie Pound-Feille

Al Maa’uun is a 501©3 organization located at 1729 Lyndale Avenue North.  In addition to our meal program, we are seeing a growing need for help with prescriptions, medical supplies, co-pays and related expenses. This grant will help our families stay healthy and receive essential medicine and supplies as they weather the economic effects of COVID-19 and the loss of neighborhood pharmacies in the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd.

Other background on Al Maa’uun:  Inspired by the teaching of the Holy Qur’an and housed in Minneapolis’ historic Mosque of the Light, Masjid An-Nur, Al Maa’uun partners with neighboring organizations, faith communities, and individuals to meet the needs of our neighbors in North Minneapolis. From our earliest food program to our newest and most ambitious workforce development partnerships, Al Maa’uun is continuously evolving our services to meet the changing needs of our community. Our Executive Director is Imam El-Amin, a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellowship recipient whose work as a religious and community leader is firmly rooted in the principles of social justice. We strive to honor the dignity of each individual we serve or partner with.

The dynamic collection of neighborhoods surrounding Masjid An-Nur is our primary area of service. Often referred to as Near North Minneapolis, it is home to the historic African-American community in Minneapolis and much of Minnesota. The impact of COVID-19 on the households we touch that are already disproportionately affected by poverty and unemployment has profoundly increased the demand for our food programs. Our response to the pandemic is to be of greater service to our neighbors by setting up a free Home Meal Delivery Service (for youth, seniors, and individuals with disabilities) and a Food Shelf Delivery Service. To date, we have enrolled nearly 300 households and are providing 4300 meals per week. Each household receives enough food for the week, with two meals (breakfast and lunch) per day. All of our meals are halal, prepared in a certified kitchen, and meet FDA dietary requirements.

From left: Rev. Dr. Laurie Pound Feille and Anisha with Al Maa’uun

The Calvary Emergency Food Shelf at Calvary Lutheran Church is at Chicago Ave. and 39th St in South Minneapolis.  This grant will help support the people in the neighborhoods surrounding the George Floyd Memorial and the broader community.  It will be used for the immediate purchase of meat, fresh produce, cleaning products and personal hygiene items such as body wash, deodorant, shampoo, laundry and dish soap, Depends, diapers, baby wipes, and feminine products.

During June, the level of service was 300% of the highest numbers in the COVID-only months of March-May. It is about eight times the 2019 “normal.” Over eight hundred households were served in June. Though data on ethnicity is not kept, it’s estimated that about 80% or more of current customers are from the Latinx, Black, and Indigenous communities (in order of group representation). The Emergency Food Shelf continues to serve more than 50% new customers every week, which started during COVID months.

Kurt Post, Office Administrator and Laurie Pound-Feille

In late May when George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers, a group unsheltered people were camped behind the Target and Cub Food in Lake Street. When the uprising started many sought refuge at the Midtown Sheraton.  After the Sheraton was not sustained by any public sector support, many moved to Powderhorn Park where there are now hundreds of unsheltered people living on parkland declared sanctuary by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

The funds from the MIRF grant will be used to provide stipends to unsheltered residents of the Powderhorn encampment who have been working security shifts 24 hours a day for the entire time the sanctuary has been in place, much of it uncompensated.

Background:  Freedom from the Streets (FFS) and Junail Freeman-Anderson have been at the forefront of the Sanctuary movement and a constant presence on the ground at the Sheraton and now at Powderhorn. Junail is one of the primary coordinators at the Powderhorn West camp and she has been instrumental in creating community led by and centering the experiences of unsheltered people. In addition to day to day management of the encampment, Junail, Freedom from the Streets, and other sanctuary organizers have been working to advocate for solutions to unsheltered homelessness in partnership with, and sometimes in opposition to, the governmental entities that are failing.  They have been doing this work with no compensation.

While they work on advocacy and long-term solutions for unsheltered people, Junail, FFS, and the Minneapolis Sanctuary movement are also holding down overnight security at Powderhorn with no support from the public sector.  Residents of the encampment have organized into security shifts with an orientation towards de-escalation, harm reduction, and relationship-forging.

For more information on Junail Freeman-Anderson see: https://www.micah.org/affordable-housing/2019/12/31/junail-anderson-board-member>

During the uprising, sixteen Latinx-owned businesses within Mercado Central were damaged.  Some lost nearly everything while others lost their cash registers, inventory, and display cases.  Most of the owners do not have business insurance, nor are they eligible for unemployment or federal loans. COVID closures had already hit these owners hard and many were behind on business rent when the uprising occurred.  Some of these businesses remain closed, while others are functioning as best they can without retail necessities.

This effort is focused on a limited number of immigrant-owned businesses to ensure a strong impact and help owners to fully reopen as soon as possible.  ALL funds will go directly to owners to replace lost inventory and retail basics (cash registers, inventory trackers, coolers, etc.)

The daughter of one of the fund’s recipients says, “Thank you for helping our community. Both of my parents’ businesses were greatly affected by Covid-19; they’ve been closed since the stay-at-home order started. They are self -employed so were unable to apply for unemployment. Although they have difficulty with technology and the language barrier, they managed to apply for a few small business loans, but unfortunately all were denied. 

We never thought our small businesses would be impacted by the riots and looting. Both businesses were destroyed. Cash was stolen and cash registers and merchandise were destroyed. My father had recently invested in a commercial freezer that was also destroyed. Over $500 of candy had to be thrown away because of broken glass. The candy is from Mexico and it is not always easy to find. My father had to travel to California to stock up.

My mother had invested in a tablet and a new register and both were taken.  She sells folkloric Mexican attire and handmade art. She also travels far to buy merchandise once a year; a lot of her clothing is hand made from small towns in Mexico. 

The community has been amazing and we’ve been volunteering at the parking lot of Mercado Central giving out food and essentials to people in need. We’ve cleaned up the broken glass and organized as much as we can. Thank you!

Located near the center of the recent Minneapolis unrest, Holy Trinity has opened its doors to serve the community in need. With grocery stores, pharmacies, and most food channels inaccessible, the church has been a place of respite, healing, and service. Each week it serves an average of 1500 people from communities of color. Services include chaplaincy, food and resources, nurse station and trauma counselors, and COVID testing. Volunteers from around the Twin Cities bring donations for families in crisis. Emergency staff offer cultural sensitivity training, organize distribution, cultivate relationships, and coordinate vendors. Holy Trinity relies heavily on donations to provide a safe and consistent channel for meeting growing needs.

New Salem has been doing its best to fulfill Matthew 25: “…when I was hungry you fed me,” and the church needs support in order to continue serving its neighbors. Among other things, in recent weeks the church has:
• Prepared and delivered over 15,000 meals to seniors.
• Dispensed personal hygiene and household products
• Given out 1100 boxes of produce.
• Been a previous testing site for Covid and are trying to do it again, and re-start a hot food service.

From left: Rev. Jerry McAfee, Imam Makram El-Amin

Our communities are experiencing deep and multi-layered trauma. The devastation of COVID-19, when combined with the heinous murder of George Floyd, created a perfect pain-storm. Neighborhoods have been decimated by the riots, looting and arson. Our nerves have been frayed by a steep escalation in gun violence. This has brought us all to a more painful awareness of the alienation of our youth and of ongoing generational and systemic racism.

30 Days of Prayer: Healing the Heart of Our City is a month-long, collaborative interfaith effort conceived to add a vital spiritual dimension to the strategic thinking, policy proposals and investments being considered. The physical space for this effort is in the midst of an area currently plagued by violence, the parking lot of the Hawthorne Crossings Mall, located at 912 West Broadway Avenue in Minneapolis. Two large tents have been erected onsite – one dedicated to prayer and reflection, and the other to fellowship.

Throughout the 30 days, different faith communities will host, and will welcome guests and facilitate prayer and reflection in chunks of time lasting 8 minutes and 46 seconds – a time selected in honor of George Floyd. The first 10 days of prayer and reflection are dedicated to Grieving for our city and our own complicity, the second 10 days will focus on Openness to change, and the last 10 days to Praying for a new future.

The interfaith element of this effort is deliberate and critical to our vision. Both Muslim and Christian congregations are counted among the hosts. Together we are calling all people, of diverse faith and philosophical backgrounds, who believe in the possibilities of a healed and united city, to join us in this spiritual pursuit. We are also inviting artists to create large-scale art on the perimeter, offering the power of art to carry new ideas and energy to both participants and observers.

All funds from the grant will be used for general operating expenses such as tent rental, prayer rugs, chairs and cushions, MAD DADS labor costs, and art supplies and artist fees.  For additional information see: website:  https://www.healingourcity.org, facebook: https://www.facebook.com/healingourcity/

This grant will:

  • Empower and pay a resident chef, a black entrepreneur, as she continues to lead community food-service efforts
  • Further equip and refurbish Walker’s community kitchen
  • Provide regular food and equipment for both encampments in Powderhorn Park
  • Begin cooking tutorials and kitchen access program for neighborhood youth of color and encampment residents
  • Create needed trauma-informed indoor healing space, with connections for residents and community members to access mental health resources

Pictured left to right: Rev. Katy Lee, Chef Ebony Turner, Rev. Laurie Pound Feille. 

This immigrant owned Spanish Immersion Child Care Center near Lake Street is for children under age five. The Center has been greatly impacted by Covid-19 and the recent unrest, and does not have revenue at this time. Most of the staff are immigrants living nearby, and they do not qualify for unemployment. Most are mothers, head of family, and many of their family members have lost jobs because they work in restaurants. The grant will allow the Center to keep paying its staff so that they can provide for their families.

This grant will provide support for community care workers who speak Somali and Spanish. The care workers will help elders in those communities to reconnect with their primary care doctors and get their prescriptions. These neighborhoods have been hit with a double crisis with first having their walkable primary care clinics close and then the pharmacies destroyed.

© Westminster Presbyterian Church | 2022