Summer 2016

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Volume 32 31 No. 1

Sharing and Caring Hands

Spring / Summer 2016

FROM MY HEART My dear friends, I have been very excited to write this letter to all of you because I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the happiness and joy you gave to so many this past Christmas holiday. You gave monetary gifts, brand new presents and toys, warm coats/hats/gloves/scarves, blankets, food, and household and hygiene items. You also volunteered to serve meals and put on special events for the children living at Mary’s Place. The outpouring of your compassion, love, and support for those less fortunate was more than I could have ever hoped or prayed for! Everyone truly became selfless and gave of themselves to help their fellow brother and sister in need experience a hopefulness and peace despite all of their trials and tribulations. Thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite prayers and Bible verses, The Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the land. Blessed are they that mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for justice, For they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they that are persecuted for the sake of justice, For the kingdom of heaven is theirs. As I hope to adequately convey my deep gratitude to each and every one of you, I also humbly ask for you to keep my next dream and project in your thoughts and prayers: for years, I have always dreamed that our medical clinic at Mary’s Place could be staffed by volunteer nurses and medical personnel. I am in process of redoing how our medical clinic is run. I am praying for nurses and medical personnel to answer our call for help and come forward available and willing to give of their special and unique skills and talents to provide basic hands-on-care to these poor children and families. If you are interested in helping us meet this need, please call me at 612-328-4290 as I would be so happy and thankful to talk to you. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your continued love and support. You make it possible for this good and holy work to be done. I pray for each of you every single day- know that I thank God for you and ask him to abundantly bless you for your generosity. May God’s Blessings be upon all of you. Yours in Christ, Mary Jo Copeland Founder & Director of Sharing and Caring Hands


A special thank you to everyone who donated monetary gifts, toys, organized donation drives, volunteered, and remembered the poor and less fortunate this past Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holiday season. Because of you and your generosity we were able to brighten thousands of lives in need!

Thanksgiving Meal- St. Mary of the Lake (Plymouth, MN) donated and prepared turkeys, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Hastings, MN) brought an array of homemade pies, and everyone danced to lively music provided by a DJ.

Winter Coats- Because of your donations, all children and teenagers living at Mary’s Place received a free, brand-new winter coat, hat, gloves, and scarf.

3M Christmas Party- 3M brought Santa Claus to Mary’s Place, took family portraits, and brought new gifts for the children to open Christmas morning.


DAMIAN MORAN of Twin Cities Wedding DJs for providing holiday music at both Sharing and Caring Hands and Mary’s Place; ROCK BOTTOM BREWERY for sponsoring a special Christmas meal, a meet and greet with Santa Claus, and presents for the families living at Mary’s Place; ALL CHURCHES, BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, FAMILIES, AND INDIVIDUALS that help us prepare and serve over 4600 meals per week. If you would like to help us continue this essential service, please call/email Missy at 612-338-4640 or [email protected]

“When Jesus Christ came to this world, he came to serve, not to be served. Can we do less? To each one of us tonight, much has been given and much will be asked. Great leaders are great servants. Serve your God, serve your family, and serve your community, and you will truly be great leaders, serving one another.”


A special thank you to Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson for bringing wonderful Christmas cheer to 400+ children living at Mary’s Place. Adrian Peterson dressed up as Santa Claus, spent personal time with each child, signed autographs, took pictures, and gave each and every child a bag filled with brand new toys. The children were so excited, the parents were so grateful, and our organization/staff are so appreciative of the good work the Minnesota Vikings are doing in our local community.


“I first met Mary Jo 16 years ago when I was 12 years old. My family and I were homeless. Never have I met someone so welcoming and loving. I immediately felt safe in a situation where you can feel anything but safe. As time went on and my family got back on our feet, I continued to stay in touch and give a helping hand wherever I could. I now work in donations, the food shelf, and the service line. The most rewarding thing about working here is seeing a person or family that Mary Jo has helped come back and let us know how well they are doing. Because I have been in their shoes, seeing their success makes it all the more special for me.”


We are in desperate need of the following items: DIAPERS in sizes Newborn, 4, 5, and 6 PULL-UPS/TRAINING PANTS (any size) BABY WIPES FORMULA Thank you for your generous support.


Do you have any of the following items at home that you are not using? Would you be willing to purchase some items you find on a good deal? Could you sponsor a drive at your church, school, or business to collect some of these much-needed items? FOOD for those that access our Food Shelf- the items most needed are cereal, pasta and sauce, peanut butter, tuna, canned fruit and vegetables, box dinners, soups, and juices. HYGIENE items such as soap, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, DIAPERS (larger sizes in particular), and wipes. HOUSEHOLD items (new/gently used)- dishes, pots and pans, glasses, silverware, towels, sheets, blankets, pillows, and small appliances in good working condition. CLOTHING (new/gently used) for men, women, and kids. STROLLERS in good working condition.


We are truly blessed to have Melissa Cozart, our dental hygienist and dental clinic director, coordinate our dental clinic so that thousands of low-income individuals, families, and children can access dental care. We are thankful to all our volunteer dentists and oral surgeons who commit their time and skills to relieve the pain and suffering of those who cannot afford dental care. We are hoping to expand our dental clinic hours and services; if you are a dentist or oral surgeon please consider volunteering your time and talents. Please call/email Melissa at 612-499-2600 or [email protected]

2015 DENTAL CLINIC STATISTICS -28 dentists and oral surgeons volunteered their services during the week and on weekends. -81% of patients had NO health insurance.

-Provided $325,000 of free care, primarily extractions and basic restorative care.

-90% of patients seen were below Federal Poverty Line; the rest were below 200%.

-1,047 patient visits.

-80% of patients had been in pain for more than 2 weeks.

16TH ANNUAL GIVE KIDS A SMILE EVENT 122 children were provided $38,000 of free treatment!

VEHICLES A vehicle donation can change a family’s life forever. If you have a car that would offer good, reliable

transportation for a family in need, please consider donating it to Sharing & Caring Hands. We give your vehicle directly to a family in need so you can deduct the fair market value as a donation. Your donated car could be the answer to a family’s prayer. To donate, please call/email Jeremy Barthel at 612-328-1681 or [email protected]

REQUEST A FREE COPY OF OUR NEWLY UPDATED DVD We would be happy to mail you a free copy of our newly updated DVD “It’s So Hard To Be Poor”- to request, please call 612-338-4640 or email [email protected] or mail to: Sharing and Caring Hands, 525 North 7th Street, Minneapolis MN 55405. NEED A SPEAKER?

We would be happy to send a speaker to your church group, business, classroom, book club, or some other group gathering to introduce you to the important work being done at Sharing and Caring Hands. This is a great way to get updated information about how you can get involved to help the homeless and poor in our community. Please call Mary Jo Copeland at 612328-4290 to schedule a speaker.


Please join us on our Facebook page to be the first to know what is happening at Sharing and Caring Hands. To visit the site type into your web browser: or simply do a google search for “Facebook and Sharing & Caring Hands.”

“The only thing you will take with you when you leave this earth is what you give away. Wherever you go, be sharing and caring hands to everyone you meet… Always remember that God showed you the way and He’ll always be with you until the end…”


Two years ago, Abdullahi lived at Mary’s Place with his father, mother, and 7 siblings. Though Abdullahi’s mother was sick with cancer, Mary Jo and her staff always remembered him having a smile on his face and focusing on his studies. After six months of living at Mary’s Place, Abdullahi’s family was ready to move into their own place. Sadly, Abdullahi’s mother was not able to beat her cancer and passed away. Abdullahi continued to stay in touch with and visit Mary Jo and her staff to express his family’s gratitude of Mary’s Place. At Abdullahi’s most recent visit, he proudly informed us that he is now 19 and about to graduate from high school. Abdullahi has been accepted to a reputable job skills training program in North Dakota where they will pay for his move/travel, room and board, train him to be an administrative office specialist, and afterwards help him secure a good-paying job. Abdullahi credits Mary Jo, her staff, and the volunteer tutors from our Tutoring Program for helping him stay focused on school, for helping him set goals to reach toward, and for helping him stay positive even throughout life’s darkest and hardest moments. We are very proud of everything that Abdullahi has persevered through and wish him continued success in North Dakota and everything he aspires to achieve.

“If you see something that needs to be changed, change it. If you see someone who needs to be helped, help them. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. Be Jesus’ hands, His heart, His feet, and His mouth.”


Please consider spending part of your summer with us in the Reading Program. This program pairs volunteers one-on-one with at-risk children, many of whom have never had someone to sit and read with them; students read aloud to volunteers for 30 minute sessions which helps them move closer to their respective grade levels by the next academic year. This program is much-loved by both children and volunteers and we are excited for another successful summer of reading. Volunteers need to be 16 years and older and need to commit to coming once per week. Sign-Up Schedule: April 1st to May 1st: Returning Volunteers can sign-up. Starting May 1st: New Volunteers can sign-up on first come, first serve basis. Summer Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 3:30-5:30pm. June 20th, 21st, 22nd: Program begins (a required training is included and provided) Week of July 4th: Program closed for holiday August 8th, 9th, 10th: Last week of Program Sign-Up Contact: Please call/email Kathy Klement at 612-328-0988 or [email protected]

Though these letters are directed to Mary Jo and the staff, we share them with you to show the impact your love, generosity and caring love have on the lives of others.

LETTERS FROM THE MAIL BAG Dear Mary Jo, Words will never be able to express how thankful we are that you helped our family. We were living in a basement and did not have anything. You took us in and gave us time to work on our lives. While we lived at Mary’s Place, I was able to help my son with his mental health needs. He is much healthier now and our family is happy. Thank you for giving us the chance to make our family whole again. Love, Mandi and Family

Dear Mary Jo, Recently, our school body started a food drive for Sharing and Caring Hands. Our students and their families collected canned goods and non-perishable items for your food shelf. Throughout the course of the food drive, our staff became amazed at our students’ excitement and motivation to participate and donate. When the food drive was over, we selected students to deliver the items to you. We came with the thought that we were blessing you and instead you overwhelmingly blessed us with an experience of love and graciousness. All of our hearts were intensely impacted by seeing you truly living out your calling from God. We now understand why your organization is called Sharing and Caring Hands. You have gifted us with something that will never be forgotten. Thank You Love, From Each Student & Staff Member At Excell Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN) Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for the money to buy a stroller for my baby. I do not have a car and have to take the city bus/walk everywhere. Having a stroller for my baby makes getting places much easier (and faster). Thank You, Aleeyah

Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for the money to buy interview clothing. I was able to go to Walmart and buy a nice outfit. I was just offered a customer service job and start my training next week. I am feeling so good about myself and what this job will do for me. Thank you for making this possible. Love, Erica Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for helping us. I was having a hard time with a lot of things. I did not know what to do and did not have family to turn to. If you had not housed us, I really do not know where we would be. But I have never experienced such kindness and love in all my life. I can honestly say that I feel so close to the Lord when in your presence, and you have become a mother-figure and role model to my kids. I have started to go back to church and am working hard to get stable for my kids. I just started working again and have set aside money in a savings account. I know I will make my kids (and you) proud. Thank You for believing in me, Corey (& kids)

LETTERS FROM THE KIDS Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for giving us a place to rest our heads at night and being here for us when we need something. Being here has really helped my parents and our family. My brother and sister and I really love it here. Our favorite part is going to the new Teen Center after school. We get to play games and hang out with our friends. It is really one of the best places to be. Love, Steven (age 13)

Dear Mary Jo, I love you so much. You are the nicest person I have ever met. I want to live here with you forever. This is the best place I have ever lived. Love, Sadie (age 9)

ULTIMATE GIFT Dear Mary Jo, Every Thursday afternoon, you ask all of the kids what they want to be when they grow up. There are so many of them but somehow you manage to remember exactly what my little brother wants to be: a police officer. Every time you talk to him, you tell him how much you believe in him and you really encourage him to follow his dreams. I just wanted to tell you that that really means a lot to him. You make him feel important and special. Thanks for doing that, it makes me happy to see him so happy. Love, Johannah (age 17)

Please consider a gift to Sharing & Caring Hands as part of your will or trust as you do your estate planning. Donations can be in the form of stocks, 401K’s, insurance policies, or charitable remainder trusts. Talk to your financial advisor or call Mary Jo Copeland at 612-328-4290. Regular donations are vital to our work, and many employers will match your donations, thus doubling its value. You can use your Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express for donations to Sharing & Caring Hands. A donation of stock is also welcome and can have great tax advantages. We are a 501(C)(3) charity so all donations are tax deductible. May God bless your generosity! Sharing and Caring Hands 525 North 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 612-338-4640 vvvvvvvvvv

Business Hours: M-Th: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. vvvvvvv

You can use your Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express for donations to Sharing & Caring Hands. vvvvvvvvv

We also have the option of Electronic Funds Transfer vvvv

Want to know more? Visit us on the Web! [email protected]


Sharing and Caring Hands P.O. Box 50657 Minneapolis, MN 55405-0657 address service requested




A Compassionate Response to the Needs of the Poor