St. Cloud Somali coffee shop gets a boost from Lutherans

Farhan Abdi, a Muslim who works with Somali youth in St. Cloud, has a coffee shop that needed some help, the St. Cloud Times says.

Enter the Lutherans of Sartell.

Celebration Lutheran Church was looking for a project as part of the church’s outreach day.

“He’s a really busy, dedicated, community servant, and he’s trying to get this coffee shop going. He just didn’t have enough time or energy or resources,” the church’s Steve Reetz said. He met Abdi at a volunteer event last year.

“Since then, he knew what I was doing for the community. He was helping us a lot with the kids, too,” Abdi tells the Times. “And he decided that it was my time to help me. So that’s why the people of a different culture and religion … came to my coffee shop and decided that it’s time for them to help me.”

So yesterday, the church showed up at the shop and gave it a makeover.

Nothing to see here, until you consider the tension that has existed in the city between its new residents and some old-timers.

Reetz said the volunteer sign-up sheet filled up fast.

“I just thought it was a wonderful opportunity to come and do something for our neighbors,” said retired teacher Maggie Brossoit of St. Cloud. “I’ve traveled and lived all around the world. So coming here to help Farhan was just — it’s what we’re meant to do.”

“As you can see today, I think, you can see this community, how they help each other. Yes, people are divided in politics. But by the end of the day, we are one people standing in one community,” Abdi said.