Response to 2011 North Minneapolis Tornado: One Year of Service Down, Two to Go

May 22, 2012
Annette Bauer | | (651) 238-8210

Roseville, MN (May 22, 2012) – It’s been a year since a tornado ripped through North Minneapolis and left hundreds of families homeless. Not only is The Salvation Army still serving tornado survivors, it has a new program to help them two more years into the future.

The new program is called Project Breakthrough. It begins in July and will provide intensive case management for up to 30 families that lost their homes to the tornado. The families will receive all the tools they need to become self-sufficient: one-on-one counseling, budgeting classes, résumé help, job interview coaching and much more. In addition, financial assistance will be available for things like car repairs, college application fees or new clothes to wear for a job interview.  The budget for the first year is $150,000.

“The program’s objective is to get families ‘off the system’ so they are not relying on the government, food shelves and other assistance,” said Major Strickler, Twin Cities Commander. “Many families that lost everything to the tornado need a guiding hand because they are still struggling to reclaim control. Through Project Breakthrough, families will have access to their very own social worker to help them navigate the system and pave a path to success.”

Project Breakthrough is funded by a two-year grant from The Salvation Army Central Territory Headquarters in Chicago. It will employ two staff members – one full-time, one part-time – and be based at the North Minneapolis Salvation Army.

Looking Back
The tornado struck on May 22, 2011 with almost no warning, annihilating a 3.5-mile swath of what is arguably Minneapolis’ poorest area. The Salvation Army was on the scene immediately, providing food, drinks and emotional care to hundreds of survivors and relief workers distributing nearly $50,000 worth of in-kind gifts including 67,000 pounds of food in the first few weeks. 

The Salvation Army would spend the remainder of 2011 providing nearly $230,000 worth of long-term assistance, most of which paid dozens of families’ relocation expenses: first month’s rent, damage deposits and furniture. The rest paid for thing like car repairs, groceries, clothing and transportation. All of these services were provided at the North Minneapolis Salvation Army, located a few blocks south of the destruction.

“We couldn’t have served so many people without the generous donations we received from the Twin Cities community,” said Strickler. “A year after the disaster, we’re seeing how much of a long-term impact those donations have had.”

The Salvation Army is still serving tornado survivors to this day, as many of them didn’t know about everything the North Minneapolis Salvation Army had to offer.

“After the tornado struck, lots of new people came to us for food, clothing, gas vouchers and other assistance,” said Strickler. “A year later, many of those tornado survivors have continued coming to us for help. In a way, the tornado was a blessing because it has allowed us to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to a whole new group of people in North Minneapolis.” 

About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 82 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

Our Mission

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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