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I had the extraordinary opportunity to hear from 3 invisible giants from People Serving People: Amber Butcher; Human Resources Manager, Jake Gale; Sr. Director of Operations, and Rinal Ray; the newly appointed CEO.

Today’s blog is a written word version of our Invisible Giants Podcast, where we feature the unsung heroes in our local community. This blog is about People Serving People (PSP), a homeless shelter for families in Minneapolis, and the tremendous work they do each day to serve our community. They’ve had to make some major operational adjustments this year and this blog highlights ways we can support them in this time of need.

What does PSP do and what is its core offerings?

People Serving People is the largest and most comprehensive emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness in Minnesota and a dedicated leader in homelessness prevention.

Our vision is:  “Healed families. Transformed communities.”
Our mission is:  “We exist to see families thrive.”

We have 99 hotel-style emergency shelter housing units for children and families experiencing homelessness.  These include a bathroom, beds, basic furniture, and a door families can lock behind them to feel safe. Three nutritious meals are served daily, with diapers and other basic necessities provided free of charge. After immediate basic needs are met, families are provided access to the following comprehensive Engagement Services to move towards stability:

  • Advocacy staff that connects families to community resources for housing, financial assistance, legal, medical, dental, and other services.
  • An on-site, licensed, 4-star Parent Aware rated and NECPA nationally accredited program
  • K-12 distance learning support
  • Center of Excellence Preschool and Learning Center
    • The licensed center has a 4-Star Parent Aware rating from the State of Minnesota
    • Designated a Strong Beginnings site by Hennepin County.

As the HR Manager, my role focuses on how I can best support my staff who are on the front lines working with families day in and day out. This includes training opportunities, benefits administration, employee relations and working with Senior Leadership to ensure our staff is safe during these unprecedented pandemic times. The safety, support, and health of my staff are always at top of mind in everything I do.

Amber Butcher | Human Resources Manager – People Serving People

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Has Covid-19 changed the way you operate?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our operations and programming. We have transitioned away from meal service in our dining hall to in-room meal delivery in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. Staff and volunteers deliver hundreds of meals daily, and we have redesigned our menu and invested in new equipment so we can deliver delicious, nutritious hot meals at safe holding temperatures.

We have reconfigured our spaces, installed plexiglass partitions, deployed social distancing decals, and adopted an aggressive sanitizing and decontamination system to promote the safest and healthiest possible environment in our shelter.

To keep people informed and supported irrespective of their role in our shelter, we have also put in place communications, continuity of operations and staffing solutions. We believe our changes are working, as we have continued to deliver vital services to families experiencing homelessness.

Jake Gale | Sr. Director of Operations – People Serving People

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How can the community best support PSP?

We so appreciate our supportive community. In addition to financial contributions, we encourage anyone that wants to help to do so by participating in one of our offsite volunteer projects. We are asking people to host diaper drives, formula drives, or book drives to raise these donated items within your communities, to provide for families staying at People Serving People.

We are also in need of cold weather items and new toys for holiday gifts for the children.  Here is a link to PSP’s Target holiday toy registry.

Our offsite volunteer projects include putting together various kits for our families such as Infant Care Kits, Potty Training Kits, Personal Care Kits, and many others. These offsite volunteer projects can be completed at home with your family or at work with your colleagues, and are a great way to support us during this difficult time.

You can find more information about our offsite projects on our website at

Rinal Ray | CEO – People Serving People

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Learn More

  • If you have further questions or want to learn more about how you can help advance the cause of People Serving People, please contact Amber Butcher at:
  • Traust’s Invisible Giants Podcast features other unsung heroes working to further innovation and build up our communities every day
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