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‘A way we can help’

Donations collected for people in Twin Cities

As the United States grapples with the fallout from George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last month, nonprofit organizations and volunteers are looking for ways to help.

Floyd died May 25, setting off a series of protests and rallies — some of which led to rioting and looting. As a result, a number of Twin Cities businesses are destroyed or heavily damaged, or without inventory. For those living in the area without individual transportation, their usual suppliers of groceries or other needs are no longer available.

Albert Lea Family Y executive secretary April Jeppson said that the YMCA organization’s different hubs across Minnesota regularly keep in touch with each other, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As the organization’s different branches work to stay on the same page, it has heard from its St. Paul Midway YMCA and Blaisdell YMCA in Minneapolis that a number of items are needed for those who don’t have the option of driving outside of their area for supplies. Jeppson said she heard about the YMCA in Mankato collecting donations to take to the Cities, leading the Albert Lea branch to start collecting donations of its own.

“As a Y community, we must stand together and draw on our core values — caring, honesty, respect and responsibility — to ensure all people have the same rights to live, learn, work and love,” an Albert Lea Family Y press release stated. “It starts with each of us.”

Albert Lea Family Y, 2021 W. Main St. in Albert Lea, started taking donations between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. June 5, and will continue to do so through this Friday. Albert Lea Family Y Executive Director Dennis Dieser will then drive the donations up to the Twin Cities YMCAs for them to distribute where they’re most needed.

“We’re hoping we can help fill a little of that void,” Jeppson said.

Items being collected are:

• Diapers of all sizes, wipes, baby formula and baby food

• First aid supplies

• Feminine hygiene supplies

• Toiletries, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, lotion, floss, combs and brushes

• Laundry detergent

• Snacks for families, children and pets

• Paper towels and toilet paper

• Face masks

• Dish soap

• Ziploc bags of all sizes

• Tissues in boxes and travel size

Jeppson said the organization is open to having more donation drives after this one wraps up, and will wait and see how everything unfolds.

While she said she feels safe in Albert Lea, she felt helpless hearing about what other areas have gone through.

“This is a way we can help,” she said.


About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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