Community ‘Peels off pain’ in St. Paul’s Eastside neighborhood

Jun 15, 2020

Residents of St. Paul’s Eastside neighborhood came to the Payne Ave. Salvation Army on June 11 for an afternoon of healing after weeks of community unrest. 

The event featured free brats, live music, and inspirational speeches from eight local leaders who represent the Eastside neighborhood’s diverse population. (See photos.) 

“We stand beside our black brothers and sisters, our Asian brothers and sisters, and all the colors of the races,” said June Blue, a representative from the American Indian Family Center.  

Another speaker, local pastor Timothy McGee (pictured), stressed the importance of solidarity within the community.  

“Our neighborhood was destroyed – but I tell you, we’re coming back,” McGee said. “This is our opportunity as Minnesotans to make change, to show that we can work together – all races, all creeds, all colors.”

Marney Lofgren, volunteer director at the Payne Ave. Salvation Army, named the event “Peel Off Pain.”

“We needed a day when businesses along Payne Ave. could take the boards off their storefronts,” said Lofgren, a lifelong resident of the Eastside neighborhood. “At the same time, ‘Peel Off Pain’ signifies more than taking the boards off. A lot of the community is hurting, so we also needed a day to love and support each other.”

The event featured many youth activities, including a painting project in which children painted colorful flowers and encouraging words on boards that were used to safeguard local businesses (pictured). 

The Payne Ave. Salvation Army has been here to help St. Paul’s Eastside community for more than 130 years. During the past three months, the facility’s staff and volunteers have provided more than 160,000 meals to local individuals and families struggling to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

“We hosted Peel Off Pain to promote unity and community,” said Captain Tonia Collins, leader of the Payne Ave. Salvation Army. “We wanted to bring healing and hope, and bring people together.”

Please join The Salvation Army in serving those affected by the COVID-19 crisis by giving a donation or signing up to volunteer. Your help will provide emergency assistance and hope for people and families in desperate need.

If you are feeling lonely, fearful or hopeless due to the COVID-19 crisis, call our Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline at 877-220-4195 anytime between 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Central Time. Trained Salvation Army officers, employees and volunteers will be available to talk, listen to you, and pray for you. 

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