Savage and Burnsville residents this week joined the outpouring of support for area neighborhoods acutely impacted by the protests, unrest and pain following the death of George Floyd.
Community groups online filled with calls for donations, and various outreach efforts carried support from the south metro to residents in need in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Locals delivered approximately 8,000 Ziploc bags packed with nutritional snacks and a handwritten message of encouragement to Harriet Bishop Elementary School over the course of three days.
The Harriet Bishop Service Club teamed up with Allan Law, who founded the “Love One Another” nonprofit back in 1967, for the project. Law, widely known in Minnesota as “the Sandwich man” for his work handing out sandwiches at night, will distribute the donations.
Savage resident Seema Pothini, who advises the service club, said families were encouraged to make the snack packs with young children as a way to discuss George Floyd and the aftermath of his death.
Steve Aase, a longtime organization partner supporting Law’s work, said Savage residents’ messages are especially powerful.
“It’s always an incredibly touching and compassionate thing to hand out,” he said. “It’s amazing how much compassion and creativity is out there of all ages.”
Sanya’s Hope for Children, a Prior Lake-based nonprofit run by eighth-grader Sanya Pirani, is accepting donations until Wednesday, June 10, at 10 a.m. for essential items needed by Minneapolis residents.
A full list of items being collected can be found online at sanyashopeforchildren.org, and monetary donations made online will be matched by a private donor on donations of up to $1,000.
Members of Burnsville Strong, a Burnsville High School student group focused on mentoring and community leadership, also organized to help Minneapolis.
“We do not want to be those people who stay silent and don’t care,” said Marie Hansen, a teacher and adviser to the organization.
In a letter to students, Burnsville Strong’s participating teachers condemned racism, hatred and violence towards Black people or any person of color.
They also stated that experiencing a range of emotions in response to trauma is justified, and students should reach out to a trusted adult for support if needed.
The advisers said they felt “complete horror over watching George Floyd’s murder” and “righteous anger along with the protesters who don’t want this to keep happening.”
Ryan Mokandu, a Burnsville High School senior, urged advisers to take action, Hansen said.
On Thursday, after only 48 hours of planning and collecting, Burnsville Strong members delivered three carloads of donated supplies to Sanctuary Covenant Church in North Minneapolis.
With students spreading the word, donations flooded in from teachers, alumni, students and other community members.
“I’m really proud for that to be one of my last few moments,” Mokandu, who graduated this week, said.
“Students can make a difference,” he added, referencing service club and other student-lead organizations in the district. “These kids are truly making an impact on our community.”