The 19th annual statewide Homeless Memorial Service will be this Thursday, December 18th. A walk from Project Offstreets/Youthlink, 41 N. 12th St., Minneapolis. will begin at 5:00 pm. Marchers will walk in silence, carrying signs stating the name, age and city of the people who have died. The service will begin at Simpson United Methodist Church at 2740 1st Ave. S. at 6:00 pm. A free community meal will be in the shelter downstairs at 7:30 pm. Last year, 150 people walked in procession down Nicollet Mall before the Holidazzle parade. 500 people attended the service and 250 attended the meal. The service in 2002 remembered 95 people from 13 areas of our state (Plymouth, Prosper, Red Wing, So. St. Paul, Winona, Virginia, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Mankato, Duluth, Apple Valley, Filmore County and Hennepin County). The youngest person we recognized was a 6 week-old girl and the oldest, an 82 year-old man. The National Coalition for the Homeless began inviting States in 1990 to hold services to honor people who had died. This year we'll be remembering over 100 people. Our focus this year is homeless children and unaccompanied youth. Much of the service will include participation from the homeless youth community. With dramatic funding cuts to youth, we remember that while most who died this year were adults (nine youth died in 2002), the second leading indicator of homelessness in adults is the experience of homelessness as a child. The service this year will include guest speaker, Bishop Richard Pates, of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, a candle lighting and reading of names for each person who died and an open time for people to share memories and reflections. Music will be provided by the Progressive Missionary Baptist Youth Choir under the direction of Twin Cities musician Jevetta Steele Dickerson. The holiday season can be a time of great indulgence. May we all gather to recognize the lives of others as we would want our own to be. For further information, contact Monica Nilsson, Shelter Director, Simpson Housing Services at 612.874.8683 x209.
You can reach Project Offstreets from downtown Minneapolis by heading west on 11th Street, crossing over Hennepin/Hawthorne, etc., and past the turn for Salvation Army Harbor Lights/Secure Waiting. You take a left onto 12th Street and you will see Project Offstreets on your right. The march will begin promptly at 5:00 p.m. and will follow a route to Nicollet Avenue and then south to 28th Street. You can join the march anywhere along the route. The service follows at Simpson United Methodist Church (2740 1st Avenue S - on the northeast corner of 28th Street and First Avenue South) at 6:00 p.m. The community meal following the service will be in the basement dining room.
We will have only limited transportation from Simpson to get to Offstreets;
those who can arrange for a carpool will help speed the process in starting
the march. Offstreets offers a warm place to wait inside. We will have a van for a few trips to the beginning of the march and for a few trips back to Offstreets after the community meal, but again, in a somewhat limited fashion.