River of Hope returns to New Orleans for MJK weekend

“A River of Hope” Relief Project:

Orion Associates, Meridian Services and Zenith Services Employees Return to New Orleans to Help with Hurricane Katrina Clean Up Over the Martin Luther King, Junior Weekend”

Orion Associates, Meridian Services, and Zenith Services sent twenty-five employees and volunteers to New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, over the Martin Luther King, Junior holiday weekend, January 13 to 16, 2006, to help with ongoing Hurricane Katrina clean up efforts.
groupThis was our second trip to New Orleans following our efforts in November, when we worked directly with people in the Ninth Ward, one of the hardest hit areas of the city. After our Thanksgiving weekend trip, we continued to be a contact for families who needed help. Through these contacts we learned that their situation did not change appreciably in the weeks that followed.

Concerned and wanting to help, our organization filled and sent a second semi truckload of sheetrock, with more tools, blankets, and items for specific requests. We raised $17,500.00 to purchase these supplies and donations, and the organization again spent approximately $17,500.00 of company savings for costs and needs.
helpersWhen we arrived in New Orleans, we continued the clean up and repair work, gutting six homes, and continued our work on the church and another building used by the church. We were grateful for the opportunity to help. We gave money to some families and supplies including beds, blankets and clothing to others. Most of the cleaning and building supplies were left for use by the community as they rebuild. The people we met were very thankful because they have had so little support.

We are planning to send a group of employees and volunteers to New Orleans for a third time in late March. This time, we are also taking professional contractors to help with the rebuilding efforts. .
helpers2As Rebecca Thomley, our Chief Executive Officer, says, “Progress is underway down there, but so much work remains ahead. As this crisis disappears from the headlines, many people assume that New Orleans has returned to normal, which is simply not the case. This trip is our way of drawing attention to the situation and to ensure the help keeps coming.”

Cash donations are needed to purchase supplies and materials for the rebuilding efforts. They can be made payable to the Zenith Services, Incorporated Disaster Relief Fund, and all donors will receive a charitable tax deduction receipt in the mail.

In order to donate, please contact Jill Cihlar, 1-877-656-7466 ext 1101, or at 612-239-6928 or e-mail her at .

All tax deductible donations should be made to the:

Zenith Services, Incorporated Disaster Relief Fund

44 North 28th Avenue, Suite A

St. Cloud, Minnesota 56303 

“River of Hope” Project Participants

Emily Bastyr, Leota Bemis, Alicia Corbett, John Demgen, Alyssa Dotson, Gina Guggisberg, Lyndsay Hage, Madeleine Hage, Stephen Hage, Kathleen Holz, Pastor Warren Jones, Rachel Kuhl, Heather Lauer, Corinne Lozinski, Tammy Maschler, Jenn Meixell, Sarah Olsen, Roberta Piekarski, Jenny Schraut, Alexander Thomley, Luke Thomley, Rebecca Thomley, Toni Thulen, Jen Van Rooy, Cheryl Vennerstrom, Sharon Weiss

“River of Hope” Project Sponsors

The following agencies and businesses have generously contributed to our “River of Hope” project, and many have done so more than once. In addition, over a hundred individuals have given to our efforts as well. We would like to express our gratitude and deep appreciation to everyone whose donations have made our work in New Orleans possible. Thank you!

ABetter Inspection – Blaine

Abrams & Smith – Minneapolis

Ace Hardware – Long Prairie

Afton Alps – Hastings

Alan Michael Design – Edina

Alpine Capital LLC – New Brighton

Anchor Bank – Wayzata

Anderson Engineering

Apperts Food

Artistic Stone, Incorporated – Avon

Berg Bag Company

Bethel University (Social Work Group)

Bird Island United Methodist Church

Bonanza Restaurant

Buca De Beppo – Osseo

Camille’s Sidewalk Café

City of Bird Island

Copeland Buhl Company

Crystal Kuemper and Quilters

Curves – Crystal

Daisy a Day Floral and Gift – Sartell

Dan Leitner Consulting – Blaine

Davanni’s Pizza – Waite Park

Day Distributing Company – Maple Plain

El Loro Mexican Restaurant – Crystal

Equinox Creative Production

Five Star Heating & Air

Four Seasons Chiropractic – Plymouth

Fun Factory Day Care

Furniture Clearance Center

Geriton Medical Supply

Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company – Minneapolis

Grand Rios – Brooklyn Park

Grandview Auto and Tire – Minneapolis



Hollywood Video – Blaine

Hunstiger Hillcrest Farms

Indoff – Sauk Rapids

Industrial Metals, Incorporated

Italian Pie Shop – Minneapolis


Lily Pad Ceramics

Long Prairie Food Center

Long Prairie Lumber Yard

Long Prairie Packing Co.

M & I Bank

Maggiano’s Little Italy – Bloomington

Majors Sports Café

Mankato Truck Repair

Marco Business Products

Mark VII Distributing – Saint Paul

Minnesota Public Radio

Nordic Ware

Northern PCS Services

Oakridge Elementary

Office Depot

Old Spaghetti Factory – Minneapolis

Olive Garden – Brooklyn Center

Papa Murphys – Crystal

Petersen Motorworks, Incorporated

Piazza’s Italian Ristorante

Po-Knee Toys – Wayzata

Professional Looks Etc. Salon

Promotion Resource Alliance

Richfield Flowers & Events – Richfield

Robin Lee’s Hallmark – Crystal

Roly Poly Sandwiches – Crystal

Sacred Heart Elementary

Salon La Terre – Minneapolis

Sam’s Club – Saint Cloud

Sherwin Williams

Spalon Montage

Spectrum Transportation – Maple Grove

Stems and Vines

Sweet Taste of Italy – Crystal

The Red Rose – Minneapolis

Theisen Building Supplies – Kimball

Time Out Sports Bar

Todaze Hair

Trillium Services – Duluth

Twin City Tile & Marble Company – Saint Paul


Voyager School


Warner Manufacturing Company – Minneapolis

Western Bank – Mounds View

Yellowstone Quilt