Destruction is everywhere. Love is, too
Destruction surrounds The Salvation Army on East Lake Street in South Minneapolis, where rioting has reduced neighborhood businesses to smoldering rubble. Broken glass, graffiti, and twisted metal are everywhere.
The same is true near the West 7th Salvation Army in St. Paul, where local grocery stores, pawn shops and liquor stores have been busted up and looted.
Amid these ugly scenes, The Salvation Army has witnessed something beautiful: love.
“It’s everywhere,” said Lt. Jonathan Taube, officer of the West 7th Salvation Army. “Compassionate people and groups from all over the place have been showing up to help our neighborhoods. They are showing love at a time when it is needed most.”
Over the weekend, Taube handed out cold water at a massive pop-up food and supply distribution (pictured) organized by the Hamline Midway Coalition (see video). Yesterday, Salvation Army staff and volunteers handed out food at this same event.
“This is a cool example of the community coming together, and we are happy to be a small part of it,” Taube said. “I saw a man at the food distribution look around and say, ‘This is the real St. Paul.’”
Good things are happening in Minneapolis, too. The South Minneapolis Salvation Army has witnessed hundreds of everyday people showing up to help clean the neighborhood, serve food, and offer prayer.
That includes a young woman named Emma, who brought her friends, Martin and Henry (all pictured), to Lake Street to pick up debris.
“We didn’t know how to help but we wanted to be part of the movement,” Emma said. “We felt this could help make a difference.”
Just a few blocks from the South Minneapolis Salvation Army, a woman named Shari gave out free chicken strips, French fries, gloves, and garbage bags from a Butcher Salt food truck.
“We wanted to contribute,” Shari said. “We have a food truck, and we figured this was how.”
The South Minneapolis Salvation Army has been doing its part by offering free sandwiches and water to passersby on East Lake Street, with uplifting worship music performed live by Salvation Army officers (pictured).
“We are proud to do our part in offering comfort to Minnesotans who are struggling to make sense of the historic tragedies unfolding before our eyes,” said Captain Bersabe Vera, Divisional Secretary for The Salvation Army Northern Division. “We will continue to join others in showing love and compassion in every way we can.”
Praying for peace
The Salvation Army shares in the grief and hurt associated with the tragic passing of George Floyd, who worked at The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis (pictured) in 2017 and 2018.
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and associates of Mr. Floyd,” Lt. Cols. Lonneal and Patty Richardson, leaders of The Salvation Army Northern Division, wrote in a call for justice and equality. “This indignity cannot be ignored. It must be addressed in direct, compassionate and resolute ways.”
The Salvation Army operates seven Worship and Service Centers in the Twin Cities, most of which are located in neighborhoods hardest hit by last week’s rioting. These centers provide food, youth programs, family mentoring, and other critical services for people with socio-economic challenges – the very people who feel especially marginalized by the tragic circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death.
Our prayers continue to flow for peace amid the violence, tension and uncertainty that has gripped the Twin Cities, nation and world.
“As we all pursue justice, let us all commit to pursuing peace,” the Richardsons wrote.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. –Romans 15:13