Summer 2017


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Volume 33 No. 1

Sharing and Caring Hands

Spring / Summer 2017

FROM MY HEART

My dear friends, I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you! Your generosity of financial support, donations, volunteer service, and prayer provided a beautiful Christmas holiday to thousands in need. You brought tremendous happiness and joy to so many individuals, families, and children who otherwise would have gone without! You emptied yourself so that others less fortunate could become fulfilled – from the bottom of my heart, Thank You. As we near Easter, and reflect on suffering and hopefulness, I encourage you to share the great gift of HOPE with someone in need. Be a light of love and service within your family, your neighborhood, and your community.

For hope is not a wish but a promise that nobody walks alone. God loves us too much to leave us and we can all find confidence and peace in His goodness and love. It is important to me that I share this message with all who enter the doors of Sharing and Caring Hands and Mary’s Place. I ask them not to let yesterday take too much of today and to let go of the hurt, pain, and many mistakes made that is causing them so much sadness. Our disappointments, struggles, and troubles are only temporary if we can put energy into positivity instead of negativity! I tell people not to be ashamed or embarrassed about what brought them to where they are now, but that what really matters is what we do with today. I encourage you to come to Sharing and Caring Hands and Mary’s Place to see the difference you can make in someone’s life. We have many services and volunteer opportunities. You can serve a warm meal to the homeless, if you are a dentist or doctor you can provide medical care to those without health insurance, you can help parents living at Mary’s Place write a resume and apply for jobs so they can return to work to better provide for their children, you can help the Mary’s Place children with their homework or reading, or you can gather a group of friends to play with the young children living at Mary’s Place. Sharing and Caring Hands and Mary’s Place is made possible by you. Help us continue to open our doors every day and to be a compassionate response to the needs of the poor. Again from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your abundant and steadfast love and support. I pray for you every day. May God bless you all, today and always. Yours in Christ, Mary Jo Copeland Founder & Director of Sharing and Caring Hands

HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

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. A special thank you to 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. Because of you and your generosity we were able to brighten thousands of lives in need!

“Each one of you must be bread broken and given, wine poured and shared.” “FOR I WAS HUNGRY AND YOU GAVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT, I WAS THIRSTY AND YOU GAVE ME SOMETHING TO DRINK, I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU INVITED ME IN.” (Matthew 25:35)

If you would like to help us feed the hungry, please call/email Missy at 612-338-4640 or [email protected]

Because of your support, thousands of people enjoyed several different warm holiday meals.

ONGOING NEEDS

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. Because of your donations, all children living at Mary’s Place received a brand-new winter coat.

ICE SKATING FIELD TRIP

A special thank you to the Minnetonka Youth Hockey Association and The Depot Ice Rink (downtown Minneapolis) for hosting some of the Mary’s Place children for a fun-filled day of ice skating! The Minnetonka Bantam AA Hockey Team taught the children how to ice skate as well as provided the children breakfast, books, and gift bags. They also generously donated hundreds of dollars’ worth of baby and hygiene items for the Mary’s Place families. The Depot donated the ice time, skate rental, staff, and admission for the event. We are so grateful to everyone who donated and participated to make this special opportunity possible!

“Great leaders are great servants.” HIGHLIGHTING 15 YEARS OF SERVICE We would like to specially thank Trinity Lutheran Church (Brainerd, MN) for their 15 years of service and volunteer work! They bring high school freshman to serve and they say it is truly a highlight for their youth : “Our volunteer experience is amazing and well-organized. Our youth get to be part of an amazing ministry serving those who are hungry for food, God’s love, and the warm reception of a safe place in the city. Sharing and Caring Hands and Mary’s Place provides hope to those without hope. If you have not volunteered please do so… You will be blessed!” (Pastor Hans)

STAFF HIGHLIGHT : SCOTT

“Thanks to Mary Jo, I have now worked here one year doing maintenance for Mary’s Place which includes fixing and repairing, getting rooms ready for families to move into, and waxing floors. I also drive our trucks to pick up food shelf items and provide weekend security for Sharing and Caring Hands. My job is fulfilling, rewarding, and satisfying. I like the people I work with and the friends I have made working here. I receive great satisfaction seeing someone smile because of what I could do to help them. I love helping others and always want to grow towards being a better, caring, and giving person. I work hard every day and love what I do – I would not trade this for the world!”

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]

CURRENT URGENT NEEDS

We are in desperate need of the following items to help the Mary’s Place families: HYGIENE ITEMS: Shampoo Soap/Body Wash Toothbrushes & Toothpaste Deodorant Women’s Feminine Products BABY ITEMS: Baby Shampoo & Wash Formula Pacifiers & Bottles & Sippy Cups

DENTISTS & FAMILY PRACTICE DOCTORS NEEDED

As the need is present and growing, we are hoping to expand our dental clinic and Mary’s Place Minute Clinic hours and services! Many cannot afford dental care so need our dental clinic to relieve their pain and suffering. And many Mary’s Place children and families need basic hands-on-medical-care. We are praying for you to answer our call for help! If you are interested in helping us meet this need, please call/email Melissa Cozart at 612-499-2600 or [email protected]

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR SUMMER READING PROGRAM

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. We offer interactive materials for volunteers to use to make the students’ learning engaging and fun! 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 as this is only a 7-week program. Volunteers are provided an orientation training before working with students. Sign-Up Schedule: April 1st : Sign-Up opens to new and returning volunteers. Summer Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 3:30-5:30pm. June 19th, 20th, 21st : Program begins Week of July 3rd : Program closed for holiday August 7th, 8th, 9th : Last week of program Sign-Up Contact: Please call/email Kathy Klement at 612-328-0988 or [email protected]

THANK YOU FOR EASTER BASKETS Thank you to all of the local schools, churches, and businesses that donated special Easter baskets for the children living at Mary’s Place!

“Love and compassion are the secret to world peace.”

“Your smile and an outstretched hand is the beginning of a miracle in the unspoken need of another’s heart.” MEET A SPECIAL MARY’S PLACE FAMILY YOUR DONATIONS ARE HELPING

We would like to share this family’s story with you. Despite the challenges and hardships they have faced, they remain grateful for all the positive things in their life such as faith, family, and love. This family beautifully exemplifies what hope, resilience, and strength means. They have touched our hearts. We are so thankful your donations make it possible to help this family in need.

Written by Mrs. Johnson “My family was living in St. Paul and I had been working at Starbucks for 14 years. But I had a brain aneurysm, high blood pressure, and diabetes and was suffering from multiple health conditions. I was constantly at the hospital and my neurologist. And I was told that if I did not keep up with appointments that I could die. Because of all my medical appointments, we could not keep up with our work hours, our rent, and ended up having to move out of our home. We could not find another place in time so moved in with a relative. But that relative was taking advantage of us. Eventually that living situation became too stressful so we went to Ramsey County for shelter help. We were told all of their shelters were full. My caseworker then told us to try Mary’s Place in Minneapolis. We arrived at Sharing and Caring Hands at 8:00am. Our kids were crying but my husband told them that God will give us the strength to hold on and that he had heard that Mary Jo might be able to help us. Soon enough one of Mary Jo’s employees walked up to us and asked what we needed. My husband told him we were homeless and needed a place to stay. Mary Jo came straight over to us and asked us our story. We told her about my medical issues, how we had lost our home, and my husband said “I cannot do this all on my own, I need help.” Mary Jo looked at us and said “I am going to help you!” She gave me $100 and had a Mary’s Place family advocate bring us to Mary’s Place and upstairs to our new apartment. When the door opened and we saw inside, we were so happy and thankful! I, my husband, and our children fell to our knees with tears rolling down our cheeks. We immediately started praying and thanking God for the blessing Mary Jo gave us! They all truly love us here. Mary Jo and my family advocate continue to tell me to rest and focus on my health and recovery. They constantly assure me that we can stay until I can get better. This always brings tears to my eyes. We appreciate everything Mary Jo and her staff has done and continues to do for us. Mary Jo has taught us gratefulness, patience, kindness, love, family, and God. Mary Jo saved our family. We love her. She is our angel.”

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, I want to express immense thanks to the Almighty God for the love and kindness of Mary Jo, Sharing and Caring Hands, and Mary’s Place who are dedicated to helping all people regardless of race or religion! When it seemed like all hope was lost for me and my family, God gave us a house, hope, love, and kindness all through you Mary Jo. You have loved my family. You are always there, every day, to listen to and solve our many needs- food, clothing, housing, and more. Mary’s Place is a true home for us with everything we could need- good furniture, phone, cable television for the children, free laundry, computer room, fitness center, medical clinics, Chapel, Children Center, and more. And before we had our youngest son, you bought us everything we would need for our newborn baby- car seat, stroller, crib, clothes, blankets, bottles, diapers, wipes, and more. When I look at everything you provided my son and my family, I have tears of joy. My family has so much appreciation and thanks to you and all of your wonderful staff, especially our family advocate who assists us with our daily needs and the nuns for their love and kindness. We equally thank all of the people across the country for their most generous donations to this worthy cause through which we are receiving God’s blessings and gifts. Love, the James Family (Room # 216)

Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for everything you do for the children. I drive by your building every afternoon on my way home from work and love seeing the children playing outside on the playground with the nuns. They’re always laughing and smiling, riding little bikes, giving each other wagon rides, and running playing tag. I can tell they are truly enjoying themselves! It is such a nice thing to see. Thank You, Hannah

Dear Mary Jo, Thank you so much for the rent deposit for Brayden. I hope living here will make a difference in his life. Also, a few months ago, you helped Cory with his rent deposit. I want you to know he is doing wonderful, has a great job, and is very happy. Blessings to you for all you do! Thank You, Sara (New Heights Manager) Dear Mary Jo, I recently started helping in your After School Tutoring Program. I admit that I was anxious and nervous to start. I did not know what to expect or if I would even like it. But I need to tell you that I love volunteering and that coming to work with the children is definitely the highlight of my week! The children are amazing and they are really blessing me with their energy, laughter, and smiles. This whole experience has surprised me and I am grateful beyond words. Thank you for offering this program, I look forward to many more years of service. Thank You, Gregory

Mary Jo holds the youngest James baby (born in February 2017).

Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for the household supplies! You blessed us with beautiful brand new dishes, pots, pans, bedding, and towels! Our new house now feels like a home. I am so thankful to you! Love, Tianna

LETTERS FROM THE KIDS Dear Mary Jo, Going on that ice skating field trip was the best day of my life. Before that day I had never been ice skating because my mom does not have a lot of money. I had so much fun that I never ever wanted to leave. Love, Jeremiah (age 10)

Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for letting me do a book drive and service hours for Mary’s Place. It was awesome to see my family, friends, relatives, neighbors, and church members contribute. I gathered more books than I had set a goal for and I am so happy to give these to the Mary’s Place kids. I hope they enjoy reading them. Love, Liza (local high school student, age 14) Dear Mary Jo, My home is where the blue star is. Love, Cameron (age 5) Dear Mary Jo, Thank you for saving my family. You took us in and gave us a home. All for free. I love you so much. Love, DaeJah (age 8)

Dear Mary Jo, My favorite part about Mary’s Place is going to the Children Center! Sister Marilyn is my favorite! She pushes me down the slide. And gives me cookies and ice cream cake. I love her. Love, Leah (age 9) Dear Mary Jo, Where do you get all the $2 and beanie babies from?! Love, Abdi (age 6)

ULTIMATE GIFT

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

Dear Mary Jo, Where to start… You are an angel, sent from God, to help my mom. You gave us a place to stay, $100 to put groceries in the fridge, new clothes to replace ours that holes and tears, my little brothers and sisters toys to play with… I do not know anyone else who would be so caring and kind. My mom does not cry as much anymore and I am sure that is because of you and Mary’s Place. Thank you for helping her. Love, Arianna (age 17)

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!

www.sharingandcaringhands.org [email protected]

YOU CAN DONATE TO SHARING & CARING HANDS ONLINE.

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

NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE

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PERMIT NO. 399 TWIN CITIES, MN

A Compassionate Response To The Needs Of The Poor