Some ideas for your MN FoodShare Food and Fund Drives

i Feb 25th Comments Off by

So you want to be a hero and help Neighbors in our fight against hunger? Great! Here are some ways you can help out during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign:

  • Tell your friends! Lots of people still have not heard about Minnesota FoodShare, and hearing about it from you will mean a lot.
  • Plan a drive at your church, school, business, or community group. Think up a contest, offer incentives, and make it fun!  There are a lot of ways to do this.  Which one of your pastors can raise the most food?  Which one of your departments at work can win a “penny war?” Neighbors has just produced a “Food and Fund Drive Kit” we are happy to offer you.  Check it out at:
  • We are very happy to have someone come to speak at your meeting, place of business, or worship service. Please contact Annie at 651-306-2142 or if you would like to schedule a visit.  (Also contact Lon at if you’re interested in joining our ambassador team and representing Neighbors in our community!)
  • Don’t want to deal with food? Financial donations are also very welcome!
  • Throw a party and invite guests to bring in a food donation. This works whether you’re seven or eighty-seven!
  • Offer a special deal or discount at your place of business when customers donate food.
  • Set a goal and track your progress on a big poster. Or create an even more visual challenge, like trying to fill six barrels.
  • Teach your child the joy of giving: One of our partners (a six year old) saved up part of his allowance for a month so he could purchase some Macaroni and Cheese to donate.
  • Is your church or business part of a larger chain or denomination? Your congregation or business location can challenge another to see who can raise more.
  • Does your workplace have a strict dress code?  Offer employees the chance to wear jeans for the day if they make a donation.

We are here to help you!  Please contact Neighbors if you would like any of the following for use in a food/fund drive:

Collection Barrels or Boxes

Plastic bags (Send one home with everyone to fill.)

Posters (Paper or digital version)



Statistics or other information

Visitor to speak about Neighbors

We are also very interested in spotlighting your food/fund drive efforts on our Facebook page, so please let us know all of your great ideas!
Thank you for all your help!  Go out there and have some fun!

Seeking Heroes this March!

i Feb 18th Comments Off by

Seeking heroes, no superpowers required

We love Spiderman because Peter Parker is a humble guy, elevated by supernatural circumstance to a superman. And instead of cowering from the responsibility to use his powers for good, he embraces his new destiny, and fights the good fight.

But the truth is, we don’t need to be bitten by a radioactive spider to fight off the antiheroes and injustices of this world. We can all be heroes – because it is a brave act to look at the world with its problems that appear insurmountable and try to do some good anyway.

Neighbors, Inc. invites you this March to participate in the annual Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign and be a hero. Be a hero to your neighbors, to children going to school on empty stomachs, to seniors forced to choose between buying life-saving medications or live-giving food.

Every year, churches, businesses, civil organizations and individual citizens help us raise thousands of pounds of food for Minnesota FoodShare – a program that gives Neighbors funding based on how much food and funds we’re able to raise during the month of March. What this means for donors is the cans of food you buy or the $10 you donate goes further than any other time of the year, because it helps us secure additional funding. Your donations get a little extra superpower!

In 2013, Neighbors assisted 1,912 families a total of 5,144 times. In 2014, those assists jumped to 2,063 families helped a total of 6,166 times. This increase only continues the trend we’ve seen in recent years of more families coming to Neighbors more frequently for assistance. The exact cause of the increase is unknown.

Jim Clifton, the chairman and CEO of Gallup, wrote an editorial in February about how misleading the 5.6 percent unemployment rate really is, and it matches what we hear from families visiting our foodshelf. That rate doesn’t count workers who’ve given up searching for a job because it’s been so long, it doesn’t count workers who worked only 10 hours a week and are dangerously underemployed.

“The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie,” Clifton wrote Feb. 3. “And it’s a lie with consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory.”

Gallup estimates only 44 percent of adults 18 and older hold “good jobs” of 30 or more hours a week that supply a regular paycheck.

Right now, there are people fighting to change that problem. But, in the meantime, your neighbors go hungry. This March, you have an opportunity to make a real difference in their lives.

The act of stretching your food budget to buy a couple cans of food for a family in-need is a heroic act. It asks you to put your own precious resources toward the ever-present problem of hunger in our society. It is an act of faith that your sacrifice will make a difference in the lives of complete strangers. That small moment in the store is an act of bravery. Thank you, hero.

Hunger Heroes at the 2015 South St Paul School Summit

i Feb 17th Comments Off by

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of attending a School Summit of the leaders of many of the schools of South St Paul.   We met at Angelo’s pizza. In attendance were 32 4th, 5th and 6th graders from Lincoln Center Elementary and Kaposia Education Center. The students were leaders from their classes, involved as student council members and student ambassadors. They knew that hunger is a big issue in our community and they were gathering to do something about it.Beth-Baumann-at-Student-Summit-2-10-2015-small

The students gathered to learn about leadership and to show their leadership. The group worked with South St Paul Mayor Beth Baumann and declared they would raise enough food for Neighbors, Inc. for MN FoodShare Month in March to equal their own zip code. This is no wimpy east coast zip code that starts in zero either. These amazing children decided to raise 55,075 lbs. of food for their local food shelf.

The group came together with the help of the South St Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force led by the incomparable Deb Griffith. Three high school students attended the meeting and made sure the younger students had what they needed and that the technology worked.

Mayor Baumann and School Superintendent Dr. Dave Webb both presented on what leadership means. The attendees talked about the many meanings of leadership in their lives, from not putting up with bullying to not always going with what everyone else is doing.

Dr-Webb-at-Student-Summit-2-10-2015smallAt the start of the afternoon the students were asked why they were there. A few had come to see their mayor, others were there because of their student council or ambassador responsibilities, and one or two honestly blurted that they were there for the pizza. The important thing was that they were all coming together and that they were working on helping the people who are suffering from hunger in our community.

What stood out to me more than anything was that this was one of the rare opportunities to see a group where everyone spoke up. Everyone seemed engaged. There was very little shyness from a group of kids asked to sit with other students they didn’t know and a half hour into the meeting every student had offered their voice and opinions. They were active, enlightened and ready for action.

The students broke into group to discuss steps they could take.   Some of the ideas that I liked included these:

  • creating their own place-mats that visitors to Angelo’s and other local restaurants could use to learn more about MN FoodShare and Neighbors
  • using the theme of every day heroes to highlight student efforts
  • putting out plastic bags at their neighbors houses with information then coming back in a week to collect the cans of food donations
  • raising awareness through an event or events at a local grocery store

Hunger is a big challenge, but there is hope. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of getting to hear from some of the leaders of SSP.

Rick Birmingham
Neighbors, Inc.

FREE Ice Skating Event for Volunteers **CANCELED**

i Feb 10th Comments Off by

FREE Ice Skating Event **This Event has been CANCELED**

Join Neighbors, Inc. in recognizing YOU – our volunteers – for all of the great services you provide. Every day you help Neighbors welcome clients, staff, and future volunteers with a smile. To thank you, Neighbors, Inc. has rented out Veterans Memorial Ice Arena for our volunteers to enjoy. Please join us for free!!!  If you have any questions please contact Kazoua at or 651-272-1133

Ice Skates2

Where: Veterans Memorial Ice Arena 

When: Friday, February 27, 2015

Time: 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm


Volunteer Recognition – February

i Feb 10th Comments Off by

February is the month to show love and care. This month Neighbors, Inc. is recognizing Jan J. Her dedication to Neighbors, Inc., can be seen through the kind words her peers say about her.

“Jan was great on my first day (as a new volunteer.) [She was] really nice and a lot of good information was given. Jan was easy to talk to and very helpful as well.”

February Volunteer Cross Training: Front Desk

i Feb 10th Comments Off by

 The Volunteer Cross Training Program Features the Front Desk in February

Do you like to meet new people and greet them in a friendly manner? If so try the front desk with no commitment!

Front Desk shadowing shift availability:

February 17, 18, 19, 20 & 23 – either in the morning or afternoon (8:15 am – 12 noon or 1 pm – 4 pm)

If you are interested please email or call Kazoua with the date and time of your availability at or 651-272-1133.

The Potato Choice: A Story From the Food Shelf

i Feb 9th Comments Off by

Sometimes a shopper who is transitioning from living in a shelter to more independent living will come to the food shelf with a community advocate. The day Kevin, a shy young man, came to Neighbors, Inc. with his advocate, Pat, is especially memorable. Pat explained he was retired and a volunteer who visited Kevin about three days a week to help with various tasks. As Kevin moved through the aisles selecting his food, Pat stood behind him making gentle suggestions when Kevin seemed uncertain about making food choices. The two men were an impressive team. When we reached the potato/rice section, Kevin chose a box of Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatoes. Pat said, “No, no, take the five pound bag of fresh potatoes instead. I’m going to show you at least five different things you can make with those.” Kevin rolled his eyes, but there was a sparkle in them when he asked, “Does that mean you’ll be coming over tomorrow to help me?”

It is possible to lift people out of poverty and homelessness. Pat’s time spent with Kevin  sends a message of friendship and hope. In so many unspoken ways it says, “You have not been forgotten and you are valued.” It gives Kevin the courage and perseverance to move forward into the future. All of us in this community who donate our time, food products, or money to Neighbors, Inc. are sending this same message to Kevin. We are neighbors helping neighbors.

Neighbors, Inc. is grateful for your generosity.

We would also like to thank Sue Hanebuth for writing up this story.  Sue is an amazing woman who does everything…including working at the food shelf, running out Menu Makers program and writing up client stories like this.

February Menu Makers Features Canned Salmon

i Feb 1st Comments Off by

Have you ever wondered what to cook with canned salmon? Wonder no more! Through our Menu Makers program, we have found a variety of delicious and nutritious recipes for you. Canned salmon is known to be rich in calcium, protein, vitamins D & B12, and Omega 3s. Try out one of our recipes below & start cooking with canned salmon today! Recipes & salmon will be distributed to our clients in the food shelf throughout the month of February. Hooray Salmon Recipes

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January Menu Makers: Black Beans

i Jan 16th Comments Off by

January’s featured item for the Menu Makers program in our food shelf is black beans! Recipes featured with the black bean can giveaways include: Super Simple Black Bean Burgers, Corn & Black Bean Quesadillas and even a Black Bean Brownie (yes, you heard that correctly!) For a complete list of recipes, visit: Hooray Black Bean Recipes

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***January Cross-Training Opportunity***

i Jan 14th Comments Off by

January’s Cross-Training Opportunity: Dial-A-Ride Program

Everyday our community is seeking help from us to take them to and from medical/dental appointments. Ride along with an experienced Dial-A-Ride volunteer driver to see firsthand how impactful this program can be. Dial-A-Ride opportunities are flexible. Email Kazoua which day(s) and time(s) would work best for you and she will pair you up with a driver.

Learn more about this valuable service provided to our neighbors in the community!

To sign up, please contact Kazoua Yang at 651-272-1133 or

Volunteer Recognition: January

i Jan 14th Comments Off by

Neighbors, Inc. is starting a fresh, new year by recognizing these two ladies: Linda F. and Sandy G. Their commitment to volunteering with Neighbors is exceptional. Everything done by volunteers like them can not be replaced and for that we thank them!

Santa would be lucky to have these ladies as his elves. So glad they’re at Neighbors instead of the North Pole.”

February Continuing Education Workshop: CPR

i Jan 14th Comments Off by

Have you ever wondered how to do CPR on someone in case of an emergency? Now is your chance to learn the simple steps that can be taken to save a life. Join Neighbors and the South St Paul Fire Department in the next Continuing Education Workshop.

When: Thursday, Feb. 12th

Time: 12 noon – 1 pm (Light lunch will be featuring Subway.)

Where: Downstairs Conference Room

Presenter: South St Paul Fire Department

Space is limited to the first 12 respondent so sign up fast!



To sign up, please contact Kazoua Yang at 651-272-1133 or

Local TV Station Highlights Neighbors

i Jan 2nd Comments Off by

Our friends at Town Square TV have produced a couple of stories recently about Neighbors. We think they are fabulous! Check them out below.

Meet Virginia: Volunteer Extraordinaire –

Come As You Are Program –

Town Square


Holidays at Neighbors

i Dec 29th Comments Off by

Ever wonder what the holidays are like at Neighbors? Check out this cool picture video of some of this season’s highlights.

Merry Christmas Santa

Holiday Programs Clothing Wish List

i Dec 10th Comments Off by

Our up to date list of Holiday Program Clothing Needs is hot off the presses.141209-LovgrenAmy-018-Reduced-Size

Neighbors and our supporters will provide holiday gifts to over 1,000 families this year.


  • Girls sizes 10, 14 and 16
  • Boys sizes 3T, 5T, 12, 14, 16


  • Women’s sizes 5 and 6
  • Men’s sizes S, M and L
  • Boys sizes 12-14 (Cherokee), size 8


  • Girls size Small
  • Boys Toddler sizes 2T-3T and 3T-5T
  • Boys size Large

Thanks from our super volunteers Marge and Mary that are organizing clothes for the Love Your Neighbor Program.

Delbert’s Holiday Elves

i Dec 9th Comments Off by

Delbert the Duck has Holiday Elves



Duck elf checking on Christmas toys.

Duck elf checking on Christmas toys.

Of course we know of Santa’s elves

They watch so we behave ourselves

Now we’ve learned – we never knew –

That Delbert also has a crew

Of ducks who keep an eye on us

They never quack and never fuss.


They simply watch, then make a list.

We like these ducks, we get the gyst

Of why they’re here and what they’re after

We love their quack and join their laughter.

They even help us out with chores

They answer phones and open doors.


Checking on the food shelf.

Checking on the food shelf.

They wade through shelves of toys and balls

They check the food shelf just to see

That things are as they ought to be

These clever ducks don’t miss a trick

As volunteers they chose this shtick.

These ducks are sure they’ll only find

Neighbors who are good and kind.

People who just do their best

Not because there is a test

Folks who work for just one reason

Because they want to share the season


Duck elf reporting to Santa.

Duck elf reporting to Santa.


And so we thought we’d share these shots

Of Delbert’s ducks in special spots

Where Neighbors staff and volunteers

Are hard at work as Christmas nears.

With Delbert and his duckling crew

We send our yuletide love to you!


- Mary Treacy

December Cross Training

i Dec 5th Comments Off by

December Cross Training


Neighbors Holiday Programs:


When: Dec. 8th – Dec. 15th


If you are interested please email or call Kazoua at or 651-272-1133

with the program you are interested in and

she will provide you with specific dates and times

January Continuing Education Workshop: Customer Service

i Dec 5th Comments Off by

Customer Service
Presented by our very own
Heidi Satre

Thursday, January 08
Time: 12 noon – 1 pm

Have you received great customer service before? Do you want to learn how to provide that to our clients and customers at Neighbors? Now is your chance to give back what was given to you. Come and join the Continuing Education Workshop in learning how to provide excellent customer service to our neighbors that come to Neighbors.

To sign up please email or call Kazoua at or 651-272-1133
by Jan. 6, 2015

*Featuring Asian Food for a light lunch :)*

December Volunteer Recognition

i Dec 5th Comments Off by

Marlene K, you are recognized in December for your kindness towards other volunteers and the clients at Neighbors, Inc. Without volunteers like you, Neighbors would not be able to sufficiently help out the community in reducing poverty by promoting self-efficiency to our clients. Neighbors, Inc. would like to THANK YOU. Here are some things your fellow volunteers had to say about you:

“Marlene is a very nice person and works longer and harder than all of the guys together.”

 A very pleasant lady who is willing to go above and beyond for all the clients. A very hard worker to the food shelf.

 She is very nice to the customers and never takes a break.

 “She won’t take a break and she just works.”

 “She is an excellent non-stop worker.”

Introducing…. Menu Makers!

i Nov 25th Comments Off by

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Neighbors is rolling out a new program in its Food Shelf – thanks to the creativity and efforts of our wonderful volunteers. The program, Menu Makers, will feature a different food shelf product each month which will be distributed along with recipes and cooking tips for that product. With the holiday season approaching, the first product featured will be cranberries. Upcoming months will feature black beans (January), canned salmon (February) and kidney beans (March.) If you have recipes you’d like to contribute for one of these products, please let us know!



Photo of how the product will be distributed.

Cranberry Recipes