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Rochester nonprofit donates furniture to Taopi family

Peggy Paul of Neuro Hospitality House connected with a family following the tornado that hit Taopi on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Taopi Donations
Scott and Melorie Swenson talks with Peggy Paul, the executive director of Neuro House, while donations from the Neuro House are received on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Taopi, Minnesota. The Swenson's home was destroyed in the tornado last week and will be receiving some of the donations.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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TAOPI, Minn. — Scott and Melorie Swenson have had a lot of tough days since the tornado that ripped through Taopi on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, damaged their home.

Things are now looking up. "This is the best day we’ve had in a while," Melorie said.

That's because Neuro Hospitality House gave the Swensons furniture and other home furnishings to replace what was damaged by the tornado.

Taopi Donations
Angie Schmitz, her sister Melorie Swenson and Melorie's husbad Scott Swenson are pictured in front of donations from the Neuro House on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Taopi, Minnesota. Their homes were destroyed in the tornado last week and will be receiving some of the donated items.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Neuro Hospitality House is closing its physical location and looked to auction the furniture and home inventory that filled it, but when the tornado devastated Taopi, Peggy Paul, the executive director of Neuro Hospitality House, knew she had to donate the house's contents to a Taopi family.

Paul researched where donations were being accepted to benefit Taopi families. She came across the United Farmers State Bank Taopi Relief Fund and sent a request to be connected with a family in need.

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“It just so happened that the president of that bank was meeting with the mayor later that day, and so he mentioned it to her,” Paul said. “But ironically, the family that we're giving most of the items to actually works at that bank.”

The Swensons and their three children, aged 10, 12 and 14, were speechless about the help Paul gave them.

"It’s amazing," Melorie said. "We can't even describe how we feel."

Melorie said she thinks the donations will be lifesavers for her kids, especially the youngest two.

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"They want their rooms exactly the same," she said. "Our youngest, we made it downstairs, but when he had the courage to come look at the house, he looked and said, ‘Mom, I would have been dead,’ because everything was on his bed."

The donations were delivered by volunteers from Two Men and a Truck to a cousin’s house while the Swensons wait for their home to be livable again.

“All this stuff that we got in the house was donated to us as new furniture, so we're so glad that we can pass that on to people who have a really dire need for it,” Paul said.

Neuro Hospitality House is also providing necessities like bed and bath linens, kitchen items and other basics to other families in Taopi.

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The Swensons still have more to work through, like having an engineer assess their house. For now, they're holding onto the human kindness they've experienced over the last week.

"It’s been so much help, it's kind of overwhelming. You realize how good of a community you live in, and surrounding communities," Scott Swenson said. "People that were moving stuff out of our house, I didn’t know half of the people. I’d never seen them before."

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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