By: Christa Meland
Many congregations and individuals are looking for ways to put their faith into action and participate in immediate relief efforts in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here’s a compilation of opportunities involving Minnesota United Methodist churches.
Join a new conference Rapid Response Facebook group:
This closed Facebook group, specifically for Minnesota United Methodists, is the go-to place for sharing needs and opportunities. It’s the best and fastest way to find out how you can help. There are opportunities to assist both in-person (in the Twin Cities area) and to contribute from other parts of the state. Join here
(note that you’ll need to provide your church name and pastor’s name).
Donate food and essential supplies
: Your church can collect food and supplies to distribute in parts of St. Paul impacted by decreased access to food and essential (medical and health) supplies. Hamline Church and Fairmount Avenue UMC, both in St. Paul, are working together to meet food and supply needs through a distribution center set up at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the Midway of St. Paul. Both churches are receiving donations, sorting them into “family packs,” including halal bags, and then distributing them at Bethlehem Lutheran when they are needed. To participate in this effort:
- Sign up for a drop-off time at one at either Hamline Church or Fairmount Avenue UMC.
- Host a food and supply drive (think hygiene items, aspirin, Depends, diapers, feminine products, etc.) in your church in advance of your drop off-time.
- Drop off your items at the designated time; your church’s volunteers are welcome to stay and help sort donations if they’d like to do so. (Please wear masks when dropping off food and volunteering.)
Pray for the family of George Floyd. Pray for the deep and persistent wounds of injustice and racism. Pray for our siblings of color who are crying out in pain. Pray for those whose lives and livelihoods have been damaged by the burning and looting. Pray that we will become a nation that protects and values every citizen and sojourner. Pray that God will reign in our hearts, our churches, and our communities.
Hands-on and financial
Volunteer or contribute through Iglesia Piedra Viva: Iglesia Piedra Viva is a young Spanish-speaking United Methodist community of faith in South Minneapolis. Its families, most of whom are low-income, have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and most recently by the death of George Floyd and the aftermath of his killing. Some families have lost their means of support due to COVID-19, and most have more recently lost their immediate source of food due to the destruction and closing of so many grocery stores. The church is working to ensure that all families are able to pay rent and utilities, have sufficient food, and have meaningful access to technology to avoid isolation. Iglesia Piedra Viva has established a benevolence fund that’s being used to distribute food baskets and help families with rent and utilities, and it is seeking donations of computers to enable families to stay connected virtually. Here are ways you can help:
- Be a virtual math or reading volunteer tutor so that children do not fall behind in school. To apply to volunteer, complete an online application.
- Be a prayer partner. Email Colleen Beebe or Jesus Purisaca for prayer requests or to be connected with an Iglesia Piedra Viva prayer partner.
- Make a donation to Iglesia Piedra Viva’s benevolence fund to help ensure families can pay rent and utilities and have adequate food. Donate here.
- Make a donation of a working and usable laptop that at the very least has a camera, microphone, and speakers as well as Internet connectivity capability. Email Colleen Beebe or Jesus Purisaca to make arrangements.
Contribute to New City Church’s Solidarity Fund:
New City Church, a church plant in South Minneapolis, has launched a “Solidarity Fund” to collect donations that will go to:
- Local organizations doing hands-on work on the frontline, with a bias toward black-led organizations
- Micro loans that support individuals in the New City facing economic hardship, with priority going to black community members, as well as other people of color, queer people, undocumented people, etc.
- New City Church, as it continues to expand its anti-racism programming. Over the past three years, New City's antiracism and community organizer training has informed other churches, denominations, and universities.
Contribute to Hamline Church’s Love Your Neighbor Food and Supplies Drive:
In partnership with St. Paul area churches, Hamline is collecting funds for Keystone Community Services
, which meets vital needs in a wide variety of ways, and Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul
, which harnesses the power of thousands of faith community volunteers to relieve the effects of poverty and address its root causes. Donate here
and select “Love Your Neighbor Drive” or text “HamlineChurch1514 LoveYourNeighbor” to 73256 to give using your mobile device.
Contribute to Simpson Food Pantry:
Serving the Whittier and surrounding areas, Simpson Food Pantry—a ministry started by the former Simpson UMC in Minneapolis—is working to keep its shelves stocked to keep up with increased demand for food. Donate here