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After Brooklyn Center police fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a traffic stop, community leaders have mobilized to support residents’ needs. School buildings closed temporarily; Walmart boarded up and closed for a week; and residents are reeling from the trauma of yet another Black man dying at the hands of police.
A massive outpouring of generosity raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Brooklyn Center community and fed thousands of community members. As protests and the police response recede and stores reopen, some food drives are wrapping up. Other help efforts are now routing donations to established nonprofits rather than ad hoc GoFundMe pages. But the needs in Brooklyn Center will persist.
Here’s how you can help Brooklyn Center today (updated 1:00 p.m. Thursday, April 22):
–Support the school food drive. Brooklyn Center was already a food desert, said Sizi Goyah, a math teacher at Brooklyn Center High School and a former city council candidate. Now, with Walmart boarded up and other stores closed, access to food will be even more difficult.
The last day to drop off supplies for Brooklyn Center High School’s food drive—serving students, families, and the broader community—is Thursday, April 22, until 1 p.m. The last day for community members to pick up essential supplies will be Friday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The school district asks that further donations to the Brooklyn Center community go to Youthprise. Select “Brooklyns Response & Recovery Fund for Youth.”
-CAPI USA—a Brooklyn Center nonprofit focused on serving immigrants, refugees, and people of color—is partnering with Cross of Glory Lutheran Church for a supply drive. They’ll be collecting and distributing items from the church at 5929 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota 55429. Collection hours this week will be Wednesday, April 21 and Friday, April 23 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., with distribution from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. To volunteer, sign up here.
Monique Hernandez, CAPI USA’s development and communications manager, said Friday they no longer need canned goods, but are in need of cooking oil, bottled water, laundry detergent, diapers (adult/child) of all sizes, baby wipes, baby food, dish soap, rice, lentils, toothpaste, and deodorant.
“As soon as we get items on tables to distribute, it’s gone,” Hernandez said in an email last week.
–Volunteer. Community organizer Cindy Yang is seeking volunteers to support the high school’s food drive. Volunteers can meet at the school during food drive hours.
–Support a community resource hub. Community Emergency Assistance Programs (CEAP), a Brooklyn Center–based nonprofit for nearly half a century, provides a food shelf and access to resources year-round.
Kalleah Kennedy, CEAP’s director of advancement, said that anyone in need of groceries—including produce, shelf-stable items, culturally specific food, diapers, and wipes—can come to the curbside food shelf Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 7051 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Center, MN 55429. Appointments are required to maintain a safe flow of traffic: call 763-566-9600.
“Our curbside is completely open to anybody regardless of income,” Kennedy said.
If you’d like to donate food, basic needs supplies, or money, contact Jack Elsnes, CEAP’s community outreach manager, at 763-450-3664.
CEAP can also help connect residents to a variety of other resources, including help with domestic violence, mental health, housing assistance, energy assistance, and financial assistance.
“Because of us being in the community for so long, we have extensive faith, corporate, and community group partnerships and a lot of outreach and resources,” Kennedy said.
People looking to connect with these or other services can call 763-566-9600.
–Support a community health hub. NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center’s food shelf at 1835 Penn Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411 is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. “Our food shelf stands ready to support the Brooklyn Center community,” said food programs manager Stuart Iseminger.
-Support small businesses. The nonprofit African Career, Education, and Resources, Inc. (ACER) has supported small businesses in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center with microgrants through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it’s raising funds to support small businesses through the closures and turmoil in Brooklyn Center.
“We have a lot of ethnic businesses in our cities and they do play a critical role in sustaining the ecosystem of our community,” Nelima Sitati Munene, ACER’s executive director, told Sahan Journal. “This is the only source of income, so we need to get them up and running as soon as possible.”
Early in the pandemic, ACER’s microgrants to small businesses ranged from $500 to $3,000, depending on need. ACER is now collecting funds and assessing needs to administer another round of grants. Donate here to support their microgrant fund.
“The community of Brooklyn Center was highly impacted by the COVID pandemic in terms of job losses and infection rates, etc., so the community’s going through a lot,” Munene said. “We’re just trying to do the best we can to support the whole community.”
–Support mutual aid. Paige Ingram, a longtime Brooklyn Center resident and community organizer, is organizing a mutual aid fund through GoFundMe.
Ingram has previously worked with organizations like Mijente, Southerners on New Ground, and Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. Now, she’s reaching out to residents of the apartments right next to the police station to provide earplugs, a small amount of cash, and resources to begin conversations about policing in their community.
“Right now I’m focused on direct giving to folks that are really living in these apartment complexes facing that building and who haven’t been able to get any sleep for the last couple of nights,” Ingram said. “I don’t want to overcomplicate that. I just want to provide folks with direct funds and offer them up resources.”
Over time, Ingram hopes to connect with neighbors and develop a mutual-aid fund to address some longer term needs of Brooklyn Center residents. She’s also connecting with organizers of other mutual-aid funds to develop an infrastructure. She envisions using funds to help residents with rent and utilities.
“This is a really small community with a high need,” Ingram said.
As the immediate help drives wrap up, Sahan Journal won’t be updating this resource list frequently. But if you have ongoing questions about community needs in Brooklyn Center or story ideas about what’s happening there, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.