By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fed up with violence in a North Minneapolis neighborhood, Jariland Spence turned her former sewing shop into a center for people in need, by providing meals, clothing and spiritual support.

Now, however, she’s hoping her non-profit, which relies on donations, can get a second chance, too, and just in time for Easter weekend.

“I don’t know if I am going to be here with the lights on or not,” said Spence.

Financial struggles closed the West Broadway center for more than three months last fall. Spence was evicted from her building last August, and returned in November.

Now, the money has run out again, with her gas and electric utilities in danger of being shut off before Easter.

“I don’t know if I should plan a menu or dinner or not, because I don’t know if our utilities are going to be on. I want to have Easter dinner on Good Friday. Resurrection — resurrecting the neighborhood,” said Spence.

People who rely on the center say they come for more than meals, but new beginnings. It’s the kind of place where former gang members trade the streets for a bible study.

“Even though I was once part of the problem in our community, today I stand for the solution,” said Warren Williams, who says he is better known as Lord W. Fresh.

“You can find a liquor store on every other corner, but it’s hard to find a prayer center,” said Ed Spencer, who ate his first meal at the center Thursday night. “It’s easy to spot trouble, but it’s hard to find around this neighborhood — a place that you can come and get something that is positive and meaningful.”

As a former seamstress, Spence has set out to change the fabric of North Minneapolis.

“Now, I am doing a different kind of sewing,” she said. “Just trying to sew into the lives of people to give them hope, a reason to wake up in the morning and do something better than they did yesterday.”

She dreams of a place stitched together by the generosity of others, who this Easter, could help the center rise from struggle once again.

“I hope when I come in on Good Friday, I’m hoping that the light comes on,” said Spence. “I am hoping I will turn the stove on and the heating element will come on. I have enough faith to believe it.”

Spence says she needs roughly $2,500 dollars in donations to keep the lights and gas on for this Easter dinner. Holiday dinners can feed up to 150 people.

If you would like to donate, go to her website’s homepage, where you can find a “donate” button.

Comments (18)
  1. Rusty Shackelford says:

    $2500 to feed 150 people? You all can BBQ at my house for $1000.

    1. Kris says:

      Bet most of that is back rent and electric, not food costs.

  2. Rusty Shackelford says:

    Why can’t you ask hunter’s to donate meat? This would solve alot.

    1. Dale Gribble says:

      yeah Rusty, why can’t you help them out with some meat?

    2. Freedom says:

      They will not accept venison, its a shame, the way I look at it take what you get and dont have a fit! My family eats Deer,Elk, Bear and every once in blue moon a tastie tree hugger

  3. Artist says:

    Good point. Every year it seems police sharpshooters are called to some particular area to cull part of the deer herd. This would be a perfect opportunity to help out those in need.

    1. Rusty Shackelford says:

      If they had any sense, they would hunt animals and grow crops for food themselves. I don’t think food is the main goal here.

      1. Rusty Shackelford says:

        That’s 2,500 Mcdoubles.

        1. Rusty Shackelford says:

          12,500 packs of Top Ramen.

  4. T. Groskreutz says:

    McDonalds and ramen? 0 nutrients! This is a great cause to support those in need!

    1. Rusty Shackelford says:

      Man should know the skills of cultivation. These are grown men. What a bunch of wimps. Feed us and pay our bills or we’ll rob you is thier message here..

  5. Rusty Shackelford says:

    Protein and Carbs, the 2 most important. Go to school. Healthier is cheaper anyways.

  6. Rusty Shackelford says:

    All those grown and able men should be able to come up with the money legally right? If not, we do not support them. Let them continue to rob us for what little we have worked so hard for, while they hustle on the streets.

  7. Rusty Shackelford says:

    The fact that we can’t walk down that street and feel safe is reason enough to cut them off.

  8. Bill says:

    Get a life Shackelford!

  9. Lenny says:

    Feed us or we will rob you. Those aren’t the only two options. How bout three squares in the big house.

  10. Nick says:

    Rusty go get a job!

  11. Liz says:

    I’m thankful that this woman and many others have the kindness and compassion to help others. One never knows when they might need it. It takes a lot of money each month to run something like this, just for the basics. I’ve helped at some homeless shelters and there is nothing fancy about them but the people are grateful for just a warm meal. This might be a good time that if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.

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