By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the Twin Cities, the Salvation Army houses 900 people every night. The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless estimates that every night, around 9,000 people in Minnesota experience homelessness. That struggle is all the more a cold reality on Christmas Eve.

The line outside the Marie Sandvik Center, a Christian outreach ministry in the Phillips neighborhood, stretched farther than a city block, where an estimated 800 people came for food, gifts and a church service.

Seventy years ago, the ministry was born and the dream of a Norwegian immigrant is still realized every Christmas Eve.

“Some of these people won’t have a tree or gifts when they go home. This might be the only Christmas that they have,” said Director Kristen Hink. “They are all in need of hope. Some of the guys and gals go to a homeless shelter tonight.”

“It’s sacred to me,” said Nancy Two-Hearts, who came with her family and learned she wasn’t alone.

“I feel very, very blessed that we are all here as a family and I am not the only one who feels this way as you can see,” she said, gesturing to the long lines around the building. “There are other people out there that are hurting and I just pray for everybody else.”

People left with armfuls of gifts and food baskets and smiles. For many on Christmas Eve, the center on the corner of East Franklin Avenue is a piece of heaven on earth.

“God’s angels. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are at,” said Arlene Thomas.

When it comes to people in need, the Twin Cities Salvation Army announced a near Christmas miracle.

It was almost $4 million short of its fundraising goal, but Friday the organization announced record donations in the past week, saying it now needs $1.2 million to reach a $9.5 million goal by Dec. 31.

WCCO-TV’s Lindsey Seavert Reports

Comments (9)
  1. Brent says:

    Does anyone know where I can go to help out today??? I will be in this line next year the way things are going so I would like to assist those providing for those in need.

    1. Sweet Jesus Save us! says:

      They will have us all as peasants living in tents before you know it!

  2. Better to Give than Recieve says:

    I don’t care what you say, It is evil to make hundreds of people have to stand out in long lines at night in the snow and freezing weather here in Minnesota to get food and blessings! I can imagine many are sick, not dressed appropriate, teeth are rotting, need warm showers, some are elderly, and most are children. The heck with the stadium good rich folks lets build a place for these weathered strong souled humans to live and teach them a simple trade or craft. We need people like this who are compassionate and caring and know what its like to go hungry and be homeless. In God’s eyes these people just might be the best you will find on this planet. I bet they have a story to tell.

  3. billy says:

    Great point “Better to Give than Recieve” Thats is a crock making all them homeless wait outside on Christmas.
    It makes me sick to my stomach

  4. Karen says:

    Ya think WCCO could have took a happier picture with the homeless inside the building sitting down eating instead of waiting outside in the cold on Christmas waiting to get inside. SICK

  5. Pebbles says:

    They didn’t want to stand outside in the cold waiting for them to get inside.

  6. Lisa says:

    Yes Pebbles, I think your right.

  7. Heather says:

    Hey– chill out about the lines, folks! It takes a little while for everyone to actually get inside in an orderly fashion. The door is only big enough to let one or two people in at once! 🙂

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