In early June, FOCUS Minnesota welcomed some 200 guests who came together to give thanks and celebrate the official blessing and open house of its new building—FOCUS House.
FOCUS Minnesota, a local ministry of FOCUS North America, provides basic needs and compassionate service to people across the Twin Cities.
During the celebration, visitors representing the Twin Cities’ pan-Orthodox community prayed, chanted, and sang together for the homeless, the lonely, the addicted, the imprisoned, the children who often silently suffer, and all clients of FOCUS Minnesota. Guests also enjoyed self-guided tours, refreshments, and words of perseverance, determination, and gratitude from Matushka Vera Proctor, Director.
FOCUS Minnesota started as a simple community meal prepared and served to those in need by local Orthodox Christian volunteers working out of a small basement kitchen in Minneapolis. Today, the ministry has been transformed into a vibrant, multi-program operation that offers dignity, hope, comfort, and Christ-inspired love to all who visit.
Thanks to the generosity and dedication of the community, FOCUS now has room to continue growing with the stability of a permanent home in the historic Capitol Rice District of Saint Paul, MN.
Volunteers who served prior to the move are excited to see that the new building is more “visitor-friendly.”
“Our former Lake Street location in Minneapolis was a small area, and it was in a basement where we had steps to climb all the time,” said Kathy Schtowchan, who started volunteering before the move to FOCUS’ new location. “Now on Rice Street, FOCUS House is more accessible and visible to the community. To get in here is just unbelievable!”
The open house event ushered in the initiation of new programs serving new neighbors. The Clothes Closet offers free clothing, accessories, and household and hygiene products for men and women twice a week. The Food Shelf distributes needed food and pantry items twice a month to those in need. FOCUS Minnesota is also able to offer two new programs for the first time in their new space—a story time for children and parents as well as resume and cover letter writing workshops!
“FOCUS Minnesota’s mission remains critical as we work to better the lives of all Minnesotans,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar in support of FOCUS Minnesota’s ministry to serve people in need throughout the Twin Cities.
Volunteers look forward to welcoming new families, as well as serving old friends who have grown close to those at FOCUS throughout the life of the ministry. As a testimony to the relationships FOCUS builds with those it serves, the first two clients to visit FOCUS after the grand opening were friends who had frequently visited the Lake Street location. Volunteers who served after the grand opening agreed it was wonderful to see them and help with some of their needs.
To Matushka Vera, FOCUS House is just the beginning of a story with a future “that firmly establishes an Orthodox Christian legacy of charity, hope, and hospitality here in the Twin Cities. We have a future now, and it is secured.”