“We made it!” came a cheer from a new guest at Elim Church and Strong Tower Parish temporary shelters.

photo taken with guest permission

Thanks to the kindness of two congregations and funding from the Richard Schulze Foundation, the shelters have been opened since Valentine’s Day, which means a week of successful meals, showers, new socks and nights of sleep, thanks to a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. We have 3 months of funding for a safe place for women and one for couples and men.

We just wanted to give a quick update and to thank the folks who have sent supplies and funding our way. It helps!! Tonight the two shelters have 50 people.

For those who haven’t spent time in a shelter, think airport meets hospital. Time is a different dimension. Guests wait for the doors to open, food to be served, time to make up a bed. You can see a little relief with each stage. It was at dinner last night that a couple cheered – we made it. Although I don’t know which was greater relief – food or dropping their bags.

Like a hospital, some people are experiencing high levels anxiety moving to irritability. Most people are tired. Some are unwell – from bad stomachs to mental health to addiction and at least one victim of a violent robbery on the light rail. Like an airport, people are looking for distractions in sleep, TV and talk. A highlight in the men’s dorm was pre-lights out laughing about something silly. But a laugh is welcome!

The staff and volunteers do what they can to offer safety and comfort not only with food, shelter and a bed but also with a kind word, a hug, a little understanding.

We’re still working out some details – like where’s the best place to store shampoo, how to handle smoking and how to feed guests who show up after dinner. As community, we’re coming up with expectations and plans.

We will welcome help! Are you interested in coming in and helping out -please sign up and join us:

Or if you have a group looking to volunteer, we are looking to serve dinner at 7pm for approximately 80 plates. As we ramp up the shelters, we are particularly looking for groups or organizations that are willing to take on an entire service from prep, cook, serve to clean up. There is a full kitchen available at the church. Shelter Director Monica Nilsson try to help a meal group defray some cost with food from Second Harvest.

If you are interested in helping with meal service, please contact us or sign up online for Meal Service Volunteers.

Published by Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

One thought on ““We made it!” came a cheer from a new guest at Elim Church and Strong Tower Parish temporary shelters.

  1. What lovely, heart-warming writing, about good people coming together (thank you Monica Nilsson). Count me in somehow.


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