River of Hope VIII Clean Up

“A River of Hope” Returns to New Orleans Two Years After Our First Relief Trip
groupZenith Services volunteers returned to New Orleans with the “A River of Hope” project, over Thanksgiving weekend, November 24-27, 2007 to assist with the ongoing rebuilding efforts in the city. This trip was undertaken on the second anniversary of our first trip to the Ninth Ward and was our ninth large group trip to New Orleans taken since Hurricane Katrina devastated a large part of the Gulf coast. The organization was represented by eight employees, while the majority of 35 volunteers were community volunteers and building professionals who were rebuilding a number of community structures in the Ninth Ward.
01During this trip, our work crews made up of builders, electricians and plumbers worked on community structures including the building we are using for our Mental Health Resource Center, a daycare center, a domestic abuse center and a home for elderly services. Much was accomplished including finishing work, painting, electrical and plumbing work.

We are grateful for the over 400 volunteers who have participated in our nine majors trips to the region including individuals from Minnesota, Florida, Alabama, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Michigan, Wisconsin and Germany.

Our experiences in New Orleans have been memorable and for many of us life changing. Among the lessons we learned is the incredible impact a small grassroots group can have. We have enjoyed all of the volunteers that have joined us; each of you brought your unique gifts to the project. We appreciate the financial support from many of you-it made these trips possible. At this time of year, the River of Hope experiences serve as a powerful reminder that it is most meaningful to give.
02The following is a reflection on the trip by Kari Reinhart, a Program Administrator with Meridian Services. Kari has been instrumental in organizing the latest trips to New Orleans:

“When working with the River of Hope project, I have the unique opportunity of having contact with the volunteers. I send out the correspondence mailings and receive the list of interested volunteers. Although we always have a great group of volunteers; both skilled and unskilled, professional and novice, men and women, young and old, there are always those that can’t go but are there with our group in spirit. That is the group I would like to focus on.
03I received several e-mails last time from potential volunteers, but because of circumstances beyond their control, they were not able to participate on our ninth re-building trip. Illnesses, family obligations, vacations, are just a number so reasons that someone may not be able to help. So many of our volunteers have gone time and time again and we appreciate all of their dedicated, hard work. I could actually hear the disappointment when they realized that they were not going to be able to make the last and final trip to New Orleans for whatever reason. There seems to be a sense of commitment to finish the work that was started by all. Through our efforts, River of Hope has been able to provide for the community, families and church of the Ninth Ward. In more ways than what can be seen by the eye.
04As a by-product of this, we have also provided for our community members of volunteers here in Minnesota. The pride they feel by giving, caring and seeing what they can accomplish for others has been immeasurable. Again, I hear this from the volunteers, rather they are able to go and work hands on, or be there in spirit and help in other ways.

There are, of course, other ways to help. Anytime a group leaves for New Orleans there are supplies that are needed to complete the construction and this of course costs money. All donations made are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

As we expand our efforts to help others in need, we are creating Headwaters, through which we will continue to provide relief services to those in need. We are able to do this because of all our wonderful volunteers. Those that help hands on and those that help support us in other ways.

If you are interested in being on our mailing list and finding out more information on our efforts please contact Kari Reinhart at 763-450-5050 or by e-mailing her at .
05Thank you for your ongoing support. Let’s continue to work together so that others can live together with hope, peace and community.”

Along with Kari, we also want to offer a profound and heartfelt thank you to all who have supported and participated in the River of Hope project.

Donations to “A River of Hope” 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 Cheryl Vennerstrom, at 763-450-5007, or e-mail her at .

All tax deductible donations to the “River of Hope” project should be made to the:

Zenith Services, Incorporated Disaster Relief Fund

44 North 28 th Avenue, Suite A,

St. Cloud, Minnesota 56303

“A River of Hope” Project Participants

Leota Bemis, Judy Breyfogel, Kate Casserly, Marie Christofferson, David Comb, Alicia Corbett, James Culpepper, Alec Demgen, Julia Demgen, Tim Engstrom, Matt Frank, Bernard Ganley, Anthony Gebhard, Julie Gleason, Kathleen Holtz, Doug Jeans, Steve Johnson, Tom JoliCoeur, Pastor Warren Jones, Jocilyn Klick, Lori Kurtz, Steve Kurtz, Jeremy Laberda, Joel LeVahn, Beth Lewis, Tammy Maschler, William Maschler, Rodney Morket, Sarah Olsen,

Pete Stahl, Alexander Thomley, Luke Thomley, Rebecca Thomley,

Tony Vanelli, Cheryl Vennerstrom, Mike Weber


“A River of Hope” Project Sponsors

ABetter Inspection -— Blaine

Abrams & Smith – Minneapolis

AC Carlson Appliances – New Hope

Ace Hardware – Long Prairie

Afton Alps — Hastings

Alan Michael Design — Edina

Alpine Capital LLC

Ambiance@53 – Little Falls

Anchor Bank – Wayzata

Anderson Engineering

Apperts Food

Archetype Signmakers — Eagan

Arthouse, Incorporated — Minneapolis

Artistic Stone, Incorporated — Avon

Behind Bars Bike Shop — Minneapolis

Berg Bag Company

Bethel University (Social Work Group)

Builders Association of Minnesota – Saint Paul

Bird Island United Methodist Church

Blaine Jaycees Club

Bookin’ It – Little Falls

Bonanza Restaurant

Buca De Beppo — Osseo

Camille’s Sidewalk Café



City of Bird Island

Copeland Buhl Company

Creative Shears

Crestliner, Incorporated — Little Falls

Crystal Kuemper and Quilters

Curves — Crystal

Daisy a Day Floral and Gift — Sartell

Dan Leitner C.P.A. – Blaine

Davanni’s Pizza – Waite Park

Day Distributing Company – Maple Plain

Dunwoody Institute – Minneapolis

El Loro Mexican Restaurant — Crystal

Emma’s Restaurant & Lounge

Energy Solutions International – Saint Paul

Equinox Creative Production

Evergreen Equipment – Little Falls

Everyday People Store

Faith United Methodist Church

Falls Furniture — :Little Falls

Family Dentistry – Minneapolis

Five Star Heating & Air

Four Seasons Chiropractic — Plymouth

Fun Factory Day Care

Furniture Clearance Center

Geriton Medical Supply

The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company — Minneapolis

Glacier Plumbing — Cedar

Grand Rios – Brooklyn Park

Grumpy’s Bar — Minneapolis

Harding Lastrup Snodusters Club


Hollywood Video – Blaine

House of Pizza — Sartell

House on Crystal Lake

Hunstiger Hillcrest Farms

Indoff – Sauk Rapids

Industrial Metals, Incorporated

Innovative Surfaces, Incorporated — Hastings

Innsbruck Jewelers – New Brighton

Italian Pie Shop — Minneapolis

Jerry O. Parker – Salon Levanté — Minneapolis

Jungle Theater – Minneapolis

Keep In Touch Massage


Kurtile Ceramic Company – Brooklyn Park

Kvasnick Photography – Saint Paul

Lagoon Cinema – Minneapolis

Lava Links — Roseville

Lily Pad Ceramics

Lions Club of Saint Augusta

Local Motion – Minneapolis

Lom Accounting Service

Long Prairie Food Center

Long Prairie Lumber Yard

Long Prairie Packing Company

Loring Corners — Minneapolis

M & I Bank

Maggiano’s Little Italy – Bloomington

Mahowald Insurance Agency

Majors Sports Café

Mankato Truck Repair

Mant’s Bowling

Marco Business Products

Mark VII Distributing – Saint Paul

Minneapolis Floral – Minneapolis

Minnesota Department of Transportation District 3 Employees — Baxter

Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota Sandplay Therapy Group

New Century Partners — San Francisco, California

Nordic Insulation, Incorporated — Blaine

Nordic Ware

Northeast Tree, Incorporated

Northern PCS Services

Northern United, Incorporated — Little Falls

Northwestern Bookstores – Maple Grove

Nowthen Nursery — Nowthen

Oakridge Elementary

Office Depot

Old Spaghetti Factory — Minneapolis

Olive Garden – Brooklyn Center


Petersen Motorworks, Incorporated

Piazza’s Italian Ristorante

Po-Knee Toys — Wayzata

Planet Beach

Pratt Homes

Priscilla Circle of Linden Hills Church

Professional Looks Etc. Salon

Promotion Resource Alliance

Quality Label


Randall Building Supplies

Red’s Auto – Pierz

Remodelers Choice — Minneapolis

Rick Day Day Distributing Company

Richfield Flowers & Events — Richfield

Robin Lee’s Hallmark — Crystal

Roly Poly Sandwiches — Crystal

Sacred Heart Elementary

Saint Sabrina’s

Salon E!

Salon La Terre

Sherwin Williams

Simon Delivers

Spalon Montage

Spectrum Printing – Little Falls

Spectrum Transportation – Maple Grove

Stems and Vines

Strategic Equipment & Supply – Saint Cloud

Styer Transportation – Lakeville

Salon La Terre — Minneapolis

Sam’s Club – Saint Cloud

Scrapbooks Plus — St. Cloud

Smith Brother’s Decorating Center – Ham Lake

Spalon Montage

Spectrum Transportation

Sweet Taste of Italy — Crystal

The Red Rose — Minneapolis

Theisen Building Supplies – Kimball

Thielen’s Meats — Little Falls

Tech Builders – Fairmont

Time Out Sports Bar

Tires Plus – Blaine

Todaze Hair

Trillium Services – Duluth

Trimpac, Incorporated – Saint Cloud

Twin City Tile & Marble Company – Saint Paul


Victory Auto Service — Blaine

Voyager School


Warner Manufacturing Company — Minneapolis

Western Bank – Mounds View

Yellowstone Quilt