Over 10 Years of Giving

In 2010, we celebrated the FinnTENnial in order to help us illustrate 10 Years of Giving, we asked the non-profits we work alongside with to share testimonials of the life-changing work they do in our community every day. Below are these stories that touch our hearts and make us proud to be a part of the FINNEGANS Community Fund.

Face to Face

Face to Face shares this story of a young homeless youth who was helped by the SafeZone Program
When Tara turned 17 her mom kicked her out, believing that she was old enough and needed to be on her own, just like she had been as a teenager. Some nights she found herself sleeping on park benches and between buildings to get protection from the winter winds. Her manager at Jimmy John’s would allow her to sleep on the stairway behind the store after she finished her late night shift. Other nights, she would walk around downtown all night to stay warm. She had no family to turn to and didn’t know what to do. A co-worker told her about SafeZone and how they had helped her get into an apartment. She originally came for a meal, a warm place during the day and for a referral to shelter. After her immediate needs were met she was referred to the SafeZone Transitional Living Program. She completed an application and met with the director. In her interview she mentioned that she it was hard to go to work every day when she was worried about finding a place to sleep that night. She wanted to finish school but had to drop out so she could work. Once she started in the program she had a safe place to live and could begin to work on long term goals. Tara continues to struggle with being on her own at such a young age, but her drive and relationship with SafeZone will help her achieve her goals. She continues to work, is registered for school, and is trying to repair the relationship with her mother. Tara is determined to be independent.

St. Stephen’s Human Services

St. Stephen’s Human Services shares these stories about how their Street Outreach Program helps the homeless
William was sleeping in a mechanic shed when referred to us. We connected him with senior housing and used the flexible fund to assist with one-time costs for move-in. William will use his social security income to pay his portion of subsidized housing. We also used the flexibility to pay for furniture through the Bridging program, a $200 cost. Oftentimes, our clients obtain housing but live in an empty apartment. Being able to set a senior up with the basics, a bed, sofa, some tables and such, stabilizes them for the long term.
Brittney, a homeless parenting youth: Britney and her child spent a lot of time in public, searching for a couch to sleep on at night. While $437 a month in Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) income is insufficient, she was able to find a roommate, a situation our staff investigated and found adequate enough to provide $250 in one-time damage deposit support matching Britney’s $250 portion of the rent the 1st month. Britney hopes to obtain a job or subsidized housing in the future but this measure provided temporary sanctuary for her and her baby.

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans shares this story about the difference a small purchase made for one veteran
James, a Vietnam Era Veteran in his mid 60’s, had been struggling to get by working a low-wage job that left him paying over two-thirds his income to maintain his modest housing. Fortunately, James was able to find a job that would allow him to live more comfortably, but he was unable to afford the boots required for his new position. James turned to MACV for help, and his case manager assisted him with the funds to purchase his boots, making it possible for James earn a living wage and sustain his housing.

Northwest Youth & Family Services

Northwest Youth & Family Services shares the story of how a teenager and an 87 year old man were helped by their organization
An Eighty-seven-year old Roseville resident named Harold had a big problem. According to the City of Roseville, the house he lived in since 1949 was in immediate need of a new coat of paint or he would face action by the city. He wasn’t able to do the job himself and he didn’t have money to pay for someone else to do it. While city officials needed to address the problem of an unsightly house, they also wanted to find a way to help him. They called Debbie, the Senior Chore Program Specialist at NYFS. “The city really wanted to make sure this guy found a way to get his house painted,” Debbie said. “So I made a few calls.” The response was overwhelming. According to Petersen, “people want to help other people — you just have to get the information out there”. Over 15 volunteers converged on Howard’s house on a Saturday to scrape, prime and paint. The entire job was completed in one day and Harold’s troubles were over. “Harold was so overjoyed — he even offered to make lunch for the volunteers.” Petersen said. “He doesn’t know what he would have done without them.”

My name is Matt, you may have seen me working the register at Northwest Youth & Family Services’ Penny Pinchers Thrift Store during the day. I wanted to take a moment to let you guys know how I got here. My story starts when I was 16 years old. I was a juvenile delinquent going in and out of jail every month. I was getting into a lot of trouble on probation. I was doing drugs and alcohol every day so my P.O. sent me to treatment. After I got out I straightened up my life. My P.O. asked me if I would be interested in a job and I said “YES!” I got a job through Workforce Solutions at Penny Pinchers. As I started to prove to them that I was a hard worker, my manager Donna offered me a regular job working for NYFS, and that is my story. I started from a juvenile delinquent and turned into a hardworking man, thanks to my P.O and NYFS.

Three Rivers Community Action

Three Rivers Community Action shares the story of a homeless single mother of three
A single mother and her three children moved into the Chamomile Transitional Housing program in Sept of 2009. “Sara” moved to Minnesota due to a divorce. She didn’t know anyone. She tried working to support her family, but due to multiple medical issues, she had to quit her job. This caused her to lose her housing and eventually entering into Transitional Housing. “Sara” did apply for the MFIP program through Rice County Social Services. She received cash, food support and MA. These were all beneficial for “Sara” and her family, yet it still wasn’t meeting a critical need she had. “Sara’s” medical condition began to increase in intensity and her doctor told her that if she didn’t have surgery to correct the problem, she would probably never walk again. The surgery that “Sara” was looking at required numerous trips to the Mayo clinic in Rochester for testing and to determine the appropriate method for the surgery so as to minimize the risks involved. The problem “Sara” faced was finding daycare for her three young children while she went to these appointments. “Sara” contacted Rice County Social Services about day care, but since she was not working, there was no funding available for her situation. Sara looked at every possible option to help her pay for child care, but there were no resources available. “Sara” was beginning to think that she would have to forget about her surgery and deal with the consequences, but because Finnegan’s Funds were available through Three Rivers Community Action, the social worker working with “Sara” was able to access those funds and help pay for day care while “Sara” went to her medical appointments. “Sara” was able to have her surgery in December of 2009 and it was very successful. She made a full recovery and is now participating in a paid internship for the next six months.

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