On August 1, 2013 while visiting Minneapolis, His Grace, Bishop Peter was invited to a local chapter of Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS). Accompanied by Fr. Antony Alekseyenko, Vladika was greeted by the local director protonica Vera Proctor (nee Simonovic). Vera kindly explained the operation of the local chapter. FOCUS Minnesota is a part of FOCUS North America and was established in Minneapolis three years ago on the feast day of the Dormition of Mother of God. Since then Chapter has grown to the point of needing a new space. FOCUS Minnesota has been involved in helping everybody who walks through their door.
Inspired by the Orthodox Christian tradition of championing the needs of the poor and oppressed, FOCUS Minnesota’s mission is to serve the underserved poor, the homeless, and the working poor, providing them with Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding and Shelter (FOCUS). The outreach programs of FOCUS Minnesota enables the local Orthodox community to meet the pressing demands of the poor and to participate in charitable and humanitarian operations in the Twin Cities.
Currently, FOCUS Minnesota gives out 1000 items of clothes per week and makes 430 meals per month. This year alone, the Minnesota chapter has given out 52,000 lbs of groceries. All the work is done by volunteers from various Orthodox Churches in the area. This is one of the ways Orthodox Christians of different jurisdictions can show their unity with the deeds of mercy as well as help out the community.