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Vikings players, owners chip in $50,000 for Drake Hotel fire victims

Fundraising for those displaced by the blaze has surged.
Drake Hotel fire

Fundraising efforts to help the homeless people and families displaced by the fire at the Francis Drake Hotel apartments on Christmas Day were boosted on Sunday by the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings players, led by tight end Kyle Rudolph, pooled their resources to donate $25,000 to the relief effort, which was then matched by the Vikings' ownership group to bring the total to $50,000.

The Minneapolis Foundation, which has been the main collector of donations since the blaze, said that as of Saturday it had received more than $278,000 to help the impacted families.

"For me, Christmas is a time where you’re supposed to be spending time with family. Really, the whole holiday season – it’s all about spreading Christmas cheer and doing things for other people," Rudolph, who is the Vikings' 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, said.

"When you hear news of a tragedy like this that displaces 250 people, and their lives are turned upside down, they don’t know where to go for help, it makes you feel like you need to do something – you need to step up; you need to help these people."

The Drake Hotel, which was built in 1926, went up on flames on Christmas morning. It was being used as an overflow shelter for the city's homeless, who suddenly found themselves with anywhere to stay as the fire took hold.

Since then, efforts have focused on finding the families temporary shelter, as well as providing them with the living essentials they need.

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Families have either been moved to a hotel in Bloomington, or at another temporary shelter provided by the Covenant Church in Minneapolis.

At the legislative level, attention is shifting to providing more long-term housing options for the homeless in the Twin Cities.

In the wake of the fire, Gov. Tim Walz said he's planning a bonding request for the Legislature to address this issue, per MPR.

"This persistent homelessness and the issue of housing, this just becomes starkly real here,” said said. “We knew it was out there, we see it, it's always around us, but a lot of times without these tragedies it may not come home to people the same way."

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