Shakopee Community Assistance moving to St. John’s Lutheran Church

Local non-profit Shakopee Community Assistance is moving into St. John’s Lutheran Church at 119 Eighth Ave. W. with hopes to have its first diaper distribution this summer.

The move comes just two months after SCA was informed its building at the old St. Mark’s Catholic School was no longer considered safe for operating.

“We walked into St. John’s one day, and we explained the situation and (the associate pastor) said, ‘We’d absolutely love to have you here,'” explained SCA Director of Operations Keith Chellson. “It’s exciting we have a place, and it’s a church that wants to be a part of the program and a part of a partnership.”

Loaves and Fishes, a non-profit that provides free community meals four nights a week, was operating out of St. Mark’s alongside SCA and has also relocated to St. John’s. While Loaves and Fishes provides free meals, SCA is a separate organization that provide diapers, personal hygiene products and household essentials.

“The senior pastor said he’d been praying and working for four years to try and get the congregation more involved in social justice ministry but just wasn’t sure how to do that,” Chellson said. “One day Loaves and Fishes walked in and the next day we walked in, so it was kind of an answer to everybody’s prayers.”

As with everything in recent weeks, the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing measures have put a kink in SCA’s relocation plan and ability to get back to business as usual. Chellson is planning to hold a diaper distribution at the new St. John’s location on June 1, but it might be a drive-up format.

In the meantime, SCA has been keeping up with its clients’ needs remotely using a scheduled pick-up system.

If someone is in need of diapers, feminine hygiene products, or other household items, they can call Chellson and setup an intake appointment with him over the phone. He’ll then schedule a time for the client to pick up a two-month supply of their items at a volunteer’s house. The whole process is no-contact.

If you are in need of SCA’s services, contact Keith Chellson at 612-708-1668.

“Given the circumstances, things have been going OK,” Chellson said. He noted the organization has had about a 30% increase in clients since Shakopee started feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus and ensuing public health response.

Loaves and Fishes has been operating from St. John’s since March 23 and is also using a pick-up system. From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, anyone in need of a meal can drive up to St. John’s and get a dinner to-go for free.

“We love being together with them,” Chellson said of Loaves and Fishes. “They’re a separate program, but it’s nice we are in the same building.”

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