You are probably aware that a serious tornado went through north Minneapolis on Sunday May 22, 2011. Thankfully, the Gethsemane church building was not damaged by the tornado. However, many parts of the Camden community, including businesses and homes were devastated and the destruction in the area is wide spread. We have enclosed a map showing the path of the tornado and the area affected.
As a result of the storm, many of the families that the Camden Promise Food Shelf serve have lost their homes and most of their belongings. The Camden Promise is trying to help the families by providing them with food, clothing and supplies and by informing them about some resources for temporary housing and cleanup assistance.
Through our efforts we have recognized that it will take a long time for these families to get their lives back and to feel safe. The families are experiencing a great deal of stress and fear as they try to replace their losses. Our concern is the impact this stress places on the children and teens in our neighborhood.
We think that one of the best ways we can help the families (in addition to providing replacement belongings) is to create a community center for the children and teens. We would like to open this center as soon as the children are out of school for the summer. The center would offer the kids fun activities to keep them busy and would provide the kids with lunch and dinner. We also exploring and to use the center to teach the kids some life skills related to working and earning money and managing their earnings, while at the same time showing the adults in the neighborhood that the kids are being helpful. The kids could do various projects in the neighborhoods, such as yard work and cleanup.
To set up and operate a community center by the time school is out will be a huge undertaking, but we believe it is critical to help the families in our neighborhood recover. The Camden Promise is in need of money and volunteers to help to make our vision a reality. If you can assist us in setting up and/or operating the center, we would welcome your help. In addition, we respectfully ask that you send us a donation or pledge of monthly donations to help us provide the families with a much-needed safe place for their children. While cash donations are preferred, we have also attached a list of items that will be needed for the community center to operate in Gethsemane Church.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us. Thank you.
Sharon Ross - Executive Director