The gift of time at Elim Church and Strong Tower Parish Shelters

Gift givers

It would have been easy for Ken McCraley and his team from KMS, a black and locally owned small business, to tell me that he didn’t have the capacity to load or unload dozens of mats donated from Abbott Northwestern Hospital or that he only had manpower but no way to deliver. Instead, he loaded trucks and a crew of staff and took a breath with each ask I made (“Can we carry them into the sleeping spaces?” or “Can we lay them out for planning and then pick them up and move again?”) and his patient team made the vision of sheltering women and men real.

Thank you to photojournalist Liz Flores and reporter Chris Serres with the Minneapolis Star Tribune for joining us on our journey to opening the Elim Church and Strong Tower Shelters. As they reported today:

On a brisk morning this week, more than a dozen men and women formed a human chain that stretched from a delivery truck parked along a church sidewalk, up two flights of stairs and into the cavernous gym of Elim Church in northeast Minneapolis.

Within minutes, everyone was grabbing, lifting and passing heavy mattresses up the chain, rapidly filling the gym with enough makeshift beds to provide overnight shelter to 40 homeless adults seeking refuge from the cold. “Everyone grab a mat, we want this ready by Valentine’s Day,” said Monica Nilsson, an organizer of the new shelter. “Let’s get ‘er done!” shouted another worker as he hoisted a mattress up the stairs.

We appreciate them being with us and recognizing the success we are starting to see with public-private partnership in moving people in from outside.

Monica Nilsson, Shelter Director

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