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FOCUS Minnesota Ready to Serve the Poor at New Location

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focus-MNFOCUS Minnesota has a new location as of Thursday July 15, 2010, 1600 Lake Street, Minneapolis.   Plans are already underway to serve a deli-sandwich meal there on July 28, 2010 to maintain some momentum amongst our volunteers and to establish this activity in our new neighborhood. News of the meal has been shared with our neighboring social service agencies. 

As we build programming for the poor, we look forward to an official launch of our new center. On Saturday August 14, 2010, with the blessing and cooperation of the Minnesota Eastern Orthodox Christian Clergy Association (MEOCCA), we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at our new center. The premises will be blessed, and following that a lunch will be served to the poor. A kids table, for neighborhood families with children who might attend the meal, is also planned and will be staffed by local Orthodox college students. This event will also act as an Open House for the broader Orthodox community. This will give the Orthodox a chance to tangibly come together around our physical location, hear about our plans for the future with lots of volunteer sign-up sheets on display for future opportunities to serve. A giant wish-list will be on display as well!

We are working diligently on the following ministries which are in varying stages of development:

Food

• Community meals served in the center to increase in frequency to the level that can be sustained by O-resources.

• A food pantry available once a week stocked by donations, Minnesota Food Share and Second Harvest Heartland.

• Nutrition Education - diabetes, blood pressure, weight management, heart health education all through O-resources who are healthcare professionals to complement Nutrition/Food Access through cooperative programs with the Hennepin County WIC office in our area and The U of MN Extension Nutrition services - Operation Frontline and SNAP programs

• Food support for adults 60+ through faith-based urban ministries (various)

Occupation

• Concentrating on  job-readiness training

• Researching existing curricula to adapt for FOCUS and O-resources/volunteers 

• Planning stages for collaboration with Step-Up (city of Mpls. Program)

Clothing

• Build up a clothing closet through donations/shoe campaign started in our churches 

• Refer to St. Vincent de Paul outlet which is within blocks of FOCUS Minnesota.

• Negotiating a voucher system with local laundromats which will provide 3 wash, 2 dry and soap.

Understanding

• Working with Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches  to become a site for a parenting support group that is run in various metro locations

• After School mentoring with students from The University of Minnesota OCF

• Reading hour, homework help (bilingual as well), positive social modeling, school readiness in the Fall

• Social work intake hours for emergency services staffed by advanced students from the U of Minnesota School of Social Work 

• Supervised by volunteer licensed clinical social workers (LICSW) from the O-community

Shelter

Though we are not equipped to provide shelter at the center, we will be working with two organizations (the Salvation Army and Families Moving Forward) on an emergency referral basis to place people in transitional facilities. 

You can help by donating online today to support the ministries of FOCUS NA.  Whether we are serving at our FOCUS Minnesota Center or those in need throughout North America, your support makes a difference!  Thank you.

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