Starting December 25, 2019, the American Red Cross worked 24/7 to help people devastated by the Francis Drake Hotel apartment fire that broke out at around 3 a.m. on Christmas Day. The Drake was a three-story building with 133 units and approximately 266 residents, as well as others in the community. Residents will never return.
Our relief efforts began as volunteers provided support and addressed the immediate needs of people who were evacuated to city buses. After coordination with the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and other partners, a disaster shelter was opened that night at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
On December 27, Hennepin County moved 30 families to an extended-stay hotel. More than 60 people continued to stay at the disaster shelter. Resources, such as clothing, storage bins, and other supplies, were made available to prepare for a longer-term disaster shelter at First Covenant Church on December 28.
As of January 31, 2020, the Red Cross recorded:
- 1,929 overnight shelter stays provided with partners
- 11,759 meals and snacks. served with the Salvation Army and other partners
- 2,752 health, mental health and disability contacts
- 276 clients served by Red Cross caseworkers
- 346 comfort kits and more than 13,900 donated relief items distributed
- 357 Red Cross disaster responders from 20 states, 96% volunteers
On January 3 and 4, we brought together more than 40 local organizations and public agencies for a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) where social workers and community resources helped Drake residents work on recovery plans.
This work continued every day at the disaster shelter at First Covenant Church until the shelter closed on January 22. The second and final community donated-goods distribution was held two days later at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
We are grateful to everyone across the community and region who stepped up, wrapped their arms around those affected by the Drake Fire, and did everything they could to provide the resources necessary to help them restore normalcy to their lives.
“This is why we do the training the rest of the year,” says Audrey, a Red Cross volunteer while supporting a donated goods distribution. “Working directly with the clients is truly very rewarding.”
Post by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross