(May 31, 2011)- Minneapolis - The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) was the site of a major effort Tuesday, May 24, by Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis, who offered a one-day Project Connect: Tornado Assistance Center for county families affected by the damaging storms in North Minneapolis on Sunday, May 22. Besides providing the space to the event, MCC's catering company, Kelber Catering, provided free meals to the 1,000 storm victims.
Expecting only 250 attendees, Kelber planned for 400 and ended up serving free, hot meals to 1,000 people. This was after serving free meals to 1,500 Project Homeless Connect attendees the previous day in a separate, planned, biannual event. The MCC hosts Project Homeless Connect, a program of Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis that is a one-stop shop for people experiencing homelessness each May and December; the event started in December 2005. All of the food and supplies were donated by Kelber Catering and partners, including:
-100 pounds of pasta
-277 pounds of pasta sauce
-107 pounds of veggies
-80 pounds of cole slaw + 100 hot dogs
-54 gallons of lemonade
-30 gallons of coffee
-1,000+ cookies & bars
"Kelber Catering's generosity in donating food, time and staffing for this event is extraordinary," said Jeff Johnson, executive director, Minneapolis Convention Center. "We're proud of our 84 year association with them as our exclusive caterers. Everyone at the MCC is pleased to be able to serve our community with events such as Project Connect: Tornado Assistance Center and Project Homeless Connect."
Services provided to the tornado victims by the county and city included:
-Emergency assistance such as financial assistance, Food Support replacement, clothing vouchers and emergency supplies.
-Housing and shelter resources.
-Mental health care for dealing with the after effects of a traumatic event.
-Legal assistance for issues related to the storm, such as understanding your rights if your rental property is no longer habitable.
-Basic health care, including help with lost medications.
-Voice mail set ups, internet and phones.
-Parent resources, such as crisis nursery and help from Minneapolis Public Schools to keep children in school.
-Identification assistance for lost birth certificates, drivers licenses or other identification.