Additional donations requested.
Right now, many people in our Central Minnesota Community are experiencing homelessness. They may be living in cars, parking ramps, garages, in the woods, under bridges or in the best scenarios sleeping in a hotel-based shelter or on a friend’s couch. Most indoor community meals options have been suspended during Covid19, indoor spaces such as the St Cloud Public Library are closed, public drinking fountains at Lake George were turned off until recently, and health restrictions limit access to the Shower the People mobile shower truck.
The Salem Community Meal team is thinking creatively about how to “be church” during this time of unprecedented need. Since mid-June Salem has partnered with Homeless Helping Homeless and Neighbors to Friends non-profits and other volunteer organizations to support the frontline needs of people experiencing homelessness. Seven days a week at 2-3 pm, a take-away meal is distributed near the Lake George Boathouse (meal items are prepackaged and offered from the trunks of volunteers). Salem has committed to provide the Saturday sandwich meal with Community Meal funds (Thank you Pastor Tim for your full support!). In the past few weeks, Salem volunteers have also provided essential donations such as clean clothing for men, women, and children, toiletries, sleeping bags, backpacks, bug spray, new socks & underwear, etc. Wendy Shaler has spent hundreds of hours making sleeping mats from plastic grocery bags (fun fact: Wendy just completed her 50th mat!). It’s incredible the difference sleeping on a soft mat (vs. concrete) can make to a person’s ability to function the next day.
How can you help?
1) Continued item donations and Saturday meal volunteers are needed. See the list above. Also needed are tents, warm clothing, and coats for fall and winter (greatest need is for men’s items all sizes). Items may be dropped off at Lake George on Saturdays between 1:45 and 3 pm (Volunteer cars will be in the parking area near the Boathouse).
2) Cash or online donations are always welcome. These can be sent to Salem or made directly to Homeless helping Homeless (https://homelesshelpinghomeless.org).
3) Call City Hall to voice your concerns about supporting people who are homeless and preventing homelessness in Central Minnesota (Mayor Kleis: 320-255-7201; firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Salem Community meal team has committed to delivering and distributing sandwiches to Lake George on Saturdays at 2 pm as part of the initiative of Homeless helping Homeless non-profit.
Did you know there are currently around 161 people in Central Minnesota living in cars, the couches of friends, tents? This does not include the additional 140 people being housed temporarily in hotel-based shelters. Homeless helping Homeless (HhH) is a non-profit agency led by people who are homeless or formerly homeless to connect people with immediate needs. They have been on the front lines of coordinating motel placements for people during this epidemic. Since many of the community meal options are not happening this summer, HhH is coordinating a daily sandwich lunch delivery to Lake George for people experiencing homelessness.
Volunteer responsibilities (1-2 people is plenty)
1) pick up prepared sandwiches from Kwik Trip #137 in Waite Park (The one just north of Menards - 106 10th Ave S, Waite Park, MN 56387). The box of sandwiches will be at the checkout counter for pick up by 1:30 pm (ask for sandwiches for Homeless helping Homeless). You will NOT need to carry any money, the payment will be directly from Salem Lutheran to HhH. You WILL need to collect a receipt from Kwik Trip and drop or email a copy of this receipt to Viv Kloskin, Office Manager at Salem (email@example.com).
2) Put the sandwiches in your trunk and bring them to Lake George (park near the boat rental building on the Eastside of the lake).
3) Assist in distributing the sandwiches from 2-3 pm. There will be other volunteers from HhH distributing water and chips. Make sure to wear a mask. If you prefer a no contact option, a HhH volunteer can unload the sandwiches from your trunk so no contact is required.
4) Additional donations for "unsheltered persons in St Cloud" are welcome including: tents, sleeping bags,insect repellent,hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and tarps.