NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Jennifer and Richmond Clark were motivated to help those affected in Minneapolis and St. Paul after witnessing the emotional and physical devastation brought on by the death of George Floyd last week.
“We felt as community members that we needed to step outside of ourselves and we needed to do something to help the community up there. It’s going to take a lot to rebuild that community; economically, financially, just building-wise. They’re going to need the resources," says Jennifer Clark.
On Saturday alone, the Clarks say more than $3,000 was raised in addition to grocery and supplies donations. Those donations were brought to Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis, where many other Minnesotans showcased their generosity as well.
”You would see crowds and crowds of people walking with brooms, bags, masks on, of course, to help out to restore some of the semblances of what the neighborhood looked like. It’s not going to be the same, things are going to be different, but hopefully, they will be different in a positive way," says Clark.
The Clarks aren’t alone in their charitable efforts. Grace Luthern Church in Mankato is partnering with Wooden Spoon for their own donation drive.
”We just want to help in so many ways, we see obviously all the bad news going on all over the place, and we just want to be some of the good news that’s happening," says Ben Geer, Director of Spiritual Growth at Grace Lutheran Church.
As for moving in a positive direction, the Clarks say the first step is community relations and creating an understanding between races.
“Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’d like to be in the future,” says Clark.
One initiative underway is the reestablishment of an NAACP chapter here in Mankato. Maurice Staley along with Greater Mankato Diversity Council President Bukata Hayes among others are spearheading that effort. They say they are within reach of the 100 signatures needed to be officially recognized.
“Doesn’t matter your race, doesn’t matter your color, creed, or orientation. It is an equal-opportunity group just to bring about change through a strategic, focused effort within the city of Mankato and the greater area," says Staley.
The Clarks are still collecting cash donations for the Twin Cities community throughout this week.
Donations can be dropped off at Northside Hair Co. at 316 Cross Street in North Mankato; and at Grace Lutheran Church, located at 110 N. St., Mankato.