Recovery group benefit to present St. Paul’s Frogtown ‘then and now’ – Twin Cities

Sheri Cindrich’s heart is in St. Paul’s Frogtown, and she’s hoping to show pride for the neighborhood while raising money to support those struggling with homelessness, addiction and mental health issues. A benefit event she is organizing for Saturday at Half Time Rec will include a “then and now” presentation of photos of the neighborhood in past decades compared to today.

“We’re embracing the history of Frogtown and all the people that came from Frogtown, a very prideful group of individuals,” said Cindrich. “We should be putting good things into the community to help and support people … and honoring our history, which is a very prevalent part of just being a community.”

Cindrich founded the Recovery Cafe about two years ago after noticing an increased need for community resources aiding those in recovery from substance or alcohol issues or other types of trauma. Free membership to the Frogtown Recovery Cafe, which is part of a larger network of Recovery Cafes throughout the country, includes classes on sober activities like sports, art and meditation, as well as personal coaching.

Saturday’s benefit, the organization’s first in person fundraiser, will be free to attend, but Cindrich said she’s hoping to raise at least $10,000, which the Recovery Cafe Network is committed to matching. She said while many Frogtown residents are low-income and may not be able to contribute much, she and other board members are hopeful the opportunity to learn about the neighborhood’s history will draw a crowd.

“I thought about a gold plate dinner, but then we had this idea of having a ‘then and now’ slideshow and getting people to instead of coming to a dinner, have a real fun afternoon,” said Andy Dawkins, a former state representative and vice president of the Recovery Cafe board of directors.

Dawkins said most of the included photos, many of which they obtained from local neighborhood groups and historical associations, show Frogtown of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. However, one photo of St. Paul’s first Black attorney, Frederick McGhee, at his residence, dates back to 1906, he said.

In addition to the memories and stories presented, Dawkins said he thinks attendees will come with plenty of their own histories to share.

“It’s an audience participation slideshow, and I’m really hoping that maybe more than 50 people show up,” said Dawkins. “So when I show a picture of the old prom center and ask ‘Who’s got a prom story?’ that will hear some good stories from the audience.”

Recovery Cafe Frogtown’s “Then and Now” Benefit will be held Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at 1013 Front Ave., St. Paul. For more information about the organization, go to recoverycafefrogtown.org.

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