Alano Society seeking help of its own after eight decades hosting AA meetings

For eight decades, 2218 First Avenue in Minneapolis has served as a beacon of hope for those in recovery.

The Alano Society of Minneapolis, widely known simply by its street address of 2218, has been open since 1942. That makes it the longest continuously running Alcoholics Anonymous club in the world.

"There's a huge legacy here beyond what meets the eye here when you come in for a regular meeting," Cheryl Larson, Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, told FOX 9. "Nearly every 12-step group that you see happening in the Midwest has roots here."

The spirit of hope and community is alive within these walls, but the actual building is literally falling apart in spots. Originally built in 1887, the historic house is in desperate need of more than $250,000 in repairs.

Even though more than 800 people come here for more than two dozen AA meetings every week, enrollment is down after the pandemic and 2218 may be forced to close its doors.

"Prior to the pandemic hitting, we had over 300 members and now, we are down to 72. We are at a critical number now that if we don't start increasing donations, we will have to start looking at what do we do next. Do we shut the doors?," Larson said.

Larson says they're applying for grants to help, but those can take up to five years to secure.

The non-profit is now hoping their 4th Annual Ride for Recovery this weekend and donations from the community can help them continue their mission of recovery out loud.

"People need contact. Addicts need to not be alone. Isolation kills," said Larson, who tells FOX 9 they would love for a corporate sponsor to step in and make all these repairs happen.

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