Saint Mark’s Cathedral Enters into Partnership with Community Aid Network of MN
We have exciting news about a new tenant and community partner: Community Aid Network of MN (CANMN). CANMN is a volunteer-led mutual aid organization serving the residents of Minneapolis. CANMN works to build mutual aid bonds with Minneapolis neighbors, organize volunteers and redistribute resources to ensure everyone has the means for dignified survival.
Saint Mark’s Cathedral will be one of CAMMN’s new ‘drive up’ distribution site beginning in late October. For the last month plus CAMMN’s leadership has been seeking a new site since having to move from one of their distribution sites located at the Children’s Theater Company building. CANMN’s operations are funded entirely by individual monetary and food/supply donations. CANMN’s Saint Mark’s location will be open for distribution two half days a week.
How is this ‘Good News’ for our community and for Saint Mark’s Cathedral?
CANMN serves everyone who comes to one of their distribution sites, no matter their location or income-level. The majority of people who seek aid from CAMMN are people of color living in low-income communities suffering disproportionately from the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. Without COVID-19 unemployment benefits and an eviction moratorium, the number of vulnerable and food insecure people in Minneapolis will continue to rise. Low-income families of color will be the hardest hit. CANMN does not collect any personal information from community members and do not require recipients to prove their residence, immigration status, or income. This leaves CANMN with more time and energy to do the work that matters of meeting people’s immediate needs.
CANMN’s work provides peace of mind, increased food security, overall stability to the families of Minneapolis. Saint Mark’ is providing space as an in-kind donation. Saint Markans will have opportunities to support CANMN through onsite volunteering and more. We look forward to hearing how our members can come alongside CAMMN to help bring more goods and services to more people. This partnership with CANMN adds to and is a complement to the other organizations we support at Saint Mark’s, such as Groveland Food Shelf, The Dignity Center, the Student Resource Center at Minneapolis College, and Emmerson Spanish Immersion Learning Center.
Recall the promises we make when we reaffirm our Baptismal Covenant – promises about how we are to live as followers of Jesus:
- Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
- Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
- Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
The People : I will, with God’s help.
Saint Mark’s support of CANMN is a very tangible and visible way that we can faithfully love and serve our Minneapolis neighbors with shared purpose and with dignity for all. This also offers us a tremendous opportunity to deepen our relationships with our Loring Park neighborhood and our local community partners.
What is mutual aid?
In mutual-aid systems, people work cooperatively to meet the needs of everyone in the community. This is in contrast to charity, which creates and fosters a one-way relationship between an organization and those in need and often responds to the impacts of inequality but not its root causes.
Mutual aid is an act of solidarity that builds sustained networks between neighbors. Mutual Aid groups are self-organized and led by community members in the community. It’s about addressing real material needs in the most cost efficient and direct way possible,
Mutual aid groups often form during a community crisis and can become a more permanent alliance between people united against a common struggle. It’s quite simple - people offer help - which could be resources, like food or money, or skills, like driving or picking up prescriptions - which are then redistributed to those in the community who are in need. Mutual-aid systems operate under the assumption that everyone has something to contribute, and everyone has something they need—all are gifted, and we have enough to sustain one another and thrive as a community.
How did CAMNN come to be formed?
In August 2020, CANMN was formed from the merged efforts of three volunteer-run mutual aid sites in the Whittier and Uptown neighborhoods: The People’s Library Mutual Aid at MCAD, Pimento Relief Services, and Provision Community Restaurant. All three pop-up donation/distribution sites were created to address the immediate needs of underserved communities suffering from the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, which were exacerbated after the murder of George Floyd. Prior to the merge, the three sites collectively served an estimated 18,300 people from June-August and distributed everything from hot meals, household cleaning supplies, fresh produce, to hygiene products, over the counter medicine, diapers, infant formula, baby supplies, and more.
How can you help?
Interested in being part of ongoing discernment around how we can bring our gifts of time, talent, and treasure (along with our networks!) alongside CANMN’s leadership and community to further CANMN’s mission, as well?
Contact The Venerable Rena Turnham, Archdeacon and Associate for Community Engagement here
The Rev. Timothy M. Kingsley