Family Values for Life partners with families to cultivate communities that are spiritually empowered, mentally alert, physically fit and financially secure. Together we build capacities for families to network and leverage resources.

Annual MLK Breakfast at First Covenant Church

Every year, the General Mills Foundation and UNCF host an annual MLK Holiday Breakfast at the Minneapolis Convention Center* in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul hosts breakfasts at nine neighborhood locations, which feature a hot breakfast and … Continue reading

Back To School Event

The Back to School Event continues to grow each year and 2015 proved to be no different. The event enabled us to assist 800 families by providing 2100 backpacks filled with notebooks, folders, papers and pencils to school aged children on Saint Paul’s east side. The children were not the … Continue reading

Clyde Turner’s Basketball Camp

Former University of Minnesota basketball standout, Clyde Turner, has partnered with FVFL for the past two years along with his organization, PACE and Clyde Turner Educational Basketball Camp. His esteemed basketball camp ensures that Saint Paul’s east side boys and girls ages 8 thru 18 are learning more than just … Continue reading

2015 in Review

Jump Start Events   Summer Luncheon Kick-Off   Volunteer Celebration   Backpack and Back-to-School Event   Harvest Celebration Next Update…

August 8th, 2015: FVFL featured in Saint Paul Pioneer Press

St. Paul schoolchildren received some 2,100 free backpacks through Alfreda Flowers’ organization Family Values for Life in fall 2014, at Bruce Vento

St. Paul schoolchildren received some 2,100 free backpacks through Alfreda Flowers’ organization Family Values for Life in fall 2014, at Bruce Vento Elementary School playground. (Photo courtesy of Family Values for Life)

2,100 backpacks to be given away at St. Paul East Side school

POSTED:   08/18/2015 12:01:00 AM CDT

After the death of her husband, Alfreda Flowers knew the only way she would get through widowhood was to give back to the East Side community he had so lovingly embraced.

Kids going back to school need haircuts, so she’s lined up 10 barbers who will cut hair for free.

They need backpacks, so she’s working on getting 2,100 together, though her true goal is 2,500.

And kids need school supplies. Lord willing, each backpack will be full of pens, pencils, notebooks and more by the time her annual give-away rolls around on Sept. 2.

“Many times, families give up hope, because they run into so many dead ends,” said Flowers, a mother of eight, a grandmother of 11 and former University of St. Thomas program manager.

“I went through a time of brokenness when I lost by husband of 35 years,” said Flowers, who started her backpack event five years ago. “I had to go through the physical, the emotional, the spiritual and the financial healing — even learning how to eat well.”

All of those values are now embodied in her one-woman organization, Family Values for Life, which is still accepting donations. The nonprofit will give away free haircuts and school supplies from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 at the Bruce Vento Elementary School, 409 E. Case Ave., which is hosting an open house for parents at the same time.

The event is open to kids from across the city, but there’s one catch. To qualify for the free backpacks, school supplies and haircuts, families will have to complete brief check-ins at a series of 10 community booths, each manned by a St. Paul Public Schools organization or a community partner.

The goal is to get kids ready for the schoolyear by making sure their families have the supports they need. The organizations include East Side Thrive, Merrick Community Center, the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, Thrivent Financial and others.

Families line up to receive free backpacks for school kids at Alfreda Flowers’ Family Values for Life giveaway in 2014. Families first had families

Families line up to receive free backpacks for school kids at Alfreda Flowers’ Family Values for Life giveaway in 2014. Families first had families will have to complete brief check-ins with 10 community groups, at the event at Bruce Vento Elementary School playground. (Photo courtesy of Family Values for Life)

Last year, the line for free haircuts was overwhelming, even with a series of barbers lined up. Kids who don’t get a cut may still walk away with a gift card from the St. Paul International Barber School on Payne Avenue.

Major donors have included Target Corp., Cricket Wireless, Costco, St. Paul Public Schools, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and the Salvation Army, among others.

Flowers said her husband John, a Northwest Airlines mechanic who died in 2005, loved mentoring young people in the neighborhood and would have been pleased with the event, which distributed 125 backpacks in its first year. That number grew many times over last year to 2,100 backpacks. She’s hoping to at least meet, if not exceed, that number.

She’s still collecting donations online at familyvaluesforlife.org, or through material donations at the First Covenant Church, 1280 Arcade St.

“We’re still down a little bit in school supplies,” Flowers said. “We’re really open to that.”

Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172. Follow him at twitter.com/FrederickMelo.


 

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Backpack give-away with school supplies, free haircuts

WHEN: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2

WHERE: Bruce Vento Elementary School, 409 E. Case Ave.

WEBSITE: familyvaluesforlife.org