Throughout this past year, restaurant owner Abdiwahab Mohamed has received anxious phone calls from family members back in Somalia who are worried about the civil unrest in Minneapolis.

After a night of protests following the death of George Floyd last spring, volunteers clean up debris from Minneapolis’ Lake Street. Photo Courtesy of Uche Iroegbu/Lake Street Council.

Staying Afloat in Minneapolis

Recovering Small Businesses Hope Civil Unrest, COVID-19 Are Behind Them

April 2021


On the first night following George Floyd’s death last May, Abdiwahab Mohamed was with his family at home after a typically long day at his Minneapolis, Minnesota restaurant. As word spread that peaceful protests were turning into civil unrest near his establishment, Mohamed checked his restaurant’s security cameras and discovered a crisis unfolding.

Mohamed is the owner of Hufan Restaurant and Deli, a restaurant that serves Somali fare. Located on Minneapolis’ Lake Street, Hufan sits just one mile from the police precinct headquarters where all four former officers currently charged in Floyd’s death were stationed.

“People went to the police station, burned it down, then came down Lake Street,” Mohamed explains. It was late at night and Hufan had already closed its doors. No one was inside the restaurant when the crowd arrived.

Mohamed watched in fear as his security cameras showed a group of people smashing Hufan’s windows. Two people (more…)

Even as COVID-19 vaccinations are enabling people to connect again in person, many older adults continue to cope with deep loneliness brought about by the pandemic. (Stock Photo)

‘Coffee Talk’

Cure for the Pandemic Blues Only a Call Away

May 2021


86-year-old Don Elias of Fridley, Minnesota lost his wife to Alzheimer’s four years ago and he’s not afraid to admit it—sometimes he gets a little lonely.

“Towards the later stages of the pandemic I’ve started going stir crazy,” Elias explains. “Being alone in this pandemic is ugly, you know?”

Yet for the past couple of months, Elias gets a little less lonely come Friday mornings, because that’s when he’s got a standing date, of sorts, with 45-year-old Julie Munger, a fellow Twin Cities resident. It’s a friendly phone date, courtesy of the Minnesota-based non-profit Little Brothers — Friends of The Elderly (LBFE).

Primed with new jokes to share each week, the two share a chat that usually lasts about 30 minutes. Elias describes their calls as “kind of a remarkable conversation” and says he and Munger talk “about life and love and whatever else there is, you know?”

“I like his jokes! They help me feel better too,” Munger says. Quarantines and lockdowns have taken a toll on her spirits, as well. “I miss the human interaction so this has been nice,” says Munger, a volunteer phone staffer with (LBFE).

Zoom and FaceTime have kept many people connected during the pandemic but, for older adults, there’s nothing like an old-fashioned phone call.  (Stock photo)     (more…)