Red Cross Offers Comfort in Brooklyn Center for People Affected by Riots
About nine and a half miles away from the Cup Foods where George Floyd died, the American Red Cross has set up an operation at Brooklyn Center’s Earle Brown Heritage Center to provide comfort for people affected by looting, arson and the overall unrest in the Twin Cities over the past week.
“This is a very tragic time and we want to do our part to make sure that we’re supporting our community and helping those in need,” said Phil Hansen, CEO of the Minnesota and Dakotas region of the Red Cross.
Overnight, the organization transformed the Earle Brown Heritage Center into a respite center for those affected by the week’s events.
“Once you’re in here, we have psychological first aid or mental health services available to people, physical health services available to people,” Hansen said. “Some of it live personnel that are here, some of it virtually that are available to help support families while they’re here in this setting.”
Water and snacks are also on site. The Minnesota National Guard is on hand to provide security. And because there are still concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and other guidelines are in place to maintain health.
“Generally, people that come here only come for about 24 hours, and then we figure out what the next best thing for them is,” Hansen said. “For many of them, it’s probably returning home again. It’s just a place to be in a safe location for a period of time.”
Meanwhile, Hansen wanted to stress that anyone who comes to the Earle Brown Heritage Center should do so only after receiving a referral from a 911 operator.
“We’re not collecting any goods or items here,” Hansen said. “And again, we really would prefer people would be referred here because they have an actual urgent situation or emergency that they need help or support with from the Red Cross.”
There’s no word yet on exactly how long the respite center is going to be in place. Hansen says they’ll likely be on site through the middle of the week, but it could be longer depending on the need.