Thursday, May 26, 2011

Northside tornado update

Kitchen volunteers
Food line
Yesterday I went back north Minneapolis to serve victims of the recent tornado.   My old workplace, Christ English Lutheran Church, on Lowry and Oliver Avenues North, was serving meals and providing fellowship to nearby residents.  Only one block away from the church trees were down and roofs uplifted from Sunday's storm.  Most of the folks I visited with were among the 2,000 residents still without power.

Girls in Action from Henry High School
I would guess somewhere between 250-300 people stopped by for the community supper.  There were about 10 pastors there to provide a listening ear and 20 volunteers helping to serve and clean-up after the meal.  Among the volunteers were three young ladies from Minneapolis' Henry High School Girls in Action.

I had the pleasure of welcoming folks as they entered, and informing them of their choice fried chicken or Chinese meals. Despite the adverse conditions there was a positive and gracious spirit among those with whom I had the opportunity to visit.  They were appreciative of the meal and seemed to enjoy the warmth and fellowship provided by Christ English Lutheran.

Man with walking stick from storm
Christ English hopes to host a Camp Noah later in July for neighborhood kids impacted by the storm.  Volunteers will be needed.

One gentleman had a beautiful walking stick that he had recently made from a branch that had broken off in the storm.  He had peeled off the branch's bark and will be adding the date of the tornado to the stick to keep as a reminder.

After the supper I drove down the street to see how the clean-up efforts were coming along.  There seemed to be tarps over all of the roofs that had been uplifted and many of the trees were cut into sections and piled along the curb.

Street with trees cut up on curbside
I was a bit disturbed to hear a radio broadcast that not only will there be a long wait for contractor help to rebuild, since spring is their busy season, but also that many may be resistant to working in north Minneapolis because of the reputation it has for being an unsafe place.  This was quite the contrary of my experience last night, when I found it warm and inviting.

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