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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!

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Photo of how the product will be distributed.

Cranberry Recipes

40 Years of Heartwarming Stories

i Nov 24th Comments Off by

We were honored this weekend to have Nick Ferraro of the Pioneer Press do a piece on 40 Years of Heartwarming Stories at Neighbors.

Please check it out.  The photos were done by the PiPress’ Scott Takushi and are wonderful as well.

 

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_26987774/neighbors-inc-have-its-story-told-thanks-grant

Items Needed for Love Your Neighbor Program

i Nov 19th Comments Off by

The following items are still needed for our holiday “Love Your Neighbor” program:

Girls: Clothing – size 12 (everything) & size 16 (tops, sweaters & pajamas)

Boys: Clothing size 12 (everything), pants (sizes 10-12) & pajamas (size 14)

Both Girls & Boys : toys for ages 12+ and hats/mittens/gloves sizes 4 & up

Men’s extended size socks

For more information about our holiday programs (including donation drop-off), visit: http://www.neighborsmn.org/holiday-programs/

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Neighbors Newsletter – Fall 2014

i Nov 14th Comments Off by

This is Neighbors Fall 2014 Newsletter

 

FINAL Fall Newsletter 2014

Give to the Max Day – Support Neighbors, Inc.

i Nov 12th Comments Off by

Give to the Max Day is tomorrow.neighbors-logo

Donations to Neighbors, Inc. will help support the volunteer driven programs we offer to help low-income people in northern Dakota County.  We offer 15 programs to help people with food, clothing and other emergency and supportive services.  Our budget is less than $1 million dollars but through the clothing, food, gifts and volunteer hours donated we provide over $4 million dollars in assistance.

Your support will help us leverage volunteers to provide those services.  In 2013, Neighbors had 1,425 volunteers contribute over 38,000 hours of their time.  Neighbors was honored this year to be the first organization in MN to received Blue Ribbon Certification as a Service Enterprise by the Points of Light Foundation.

Please help: https://givemn.org/organization/Neighbors

For more information, here are 10 Things to know about Give to the Max Day.

Thank you!

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Reflections on the Negative Campaigning

i Nov 5th Comments Off by

By the time you read this, election 2014 will be in our rear view mirrors, so nobody can accuse me of using this as a tool for trying to influence the election. I try to remain apolitical. In my role as the ED of a non-profit social service agency I don’t publicly support any candidate for any office, nor do I contribute to any candidate’s campaign. In the past I have been accused of allowing my Democratic leanings to show by Republicans who felt I was being hard on them, and I’ve been accused of allowing my Republican leanings to show by those Democrats who felt I was being hard on them. So all in all, I guess I’m pretty balanced.

I think many people were appalled at the character assassination, mudslinging, distortion and smearing that went on in this most recent election cycle. It seemed to me this might have been, overall, the dirtiest campaign ever waged, at least in Minnesota. It wasn’t one sided; it was on both sides of the political fence. And it wasn’t just one or two candidates, it was almost everyone who used television as an advertising medium.

How many times were we subject to advertisements in which one candidate spent their entire allotted time smearing their opponent, never once mentioning anything they were in support of or that they would do for us if they were elected?

And then, just in case that wasn’t bad enough, it got worse. At least those candidates mentioned above were willing to associate their names with this often devious, always dirty, campaigning.

Then came commercial after commercial in which we weren’t even told who was running against the person being smeared! These commercials were apparently prepared by, and paid for by, the national Republican or the national Democratic organizations, or some other special interest organization, and they were designed solely to drag the candidate being attacked through the mud. The opponent, the one who apparently was supposed to benefit from these nasty pieces of political tripe, didn’t even have the courage to allow their name to be used!

I suppose the people who prepare and run these ads think we’re stupid, and if they use national and special interest money and never mention their candidate’s name, we won’t think the candidate had anything to do with it. However, as much as they’d like to deny culpability if they get called out for the advertising, I can’t conceive of a politician who would allow something intended to support them and their campaign to go on the air without at least being aware of it and giving tacit, if not outright, approval. If they do, they should be ashamed of themselves. That’s not even plausible deniability! It’s just plain cowardly.

This election cycle we saw these television commercials ad nauseam in the gubernatorial campaign, the senatorial campaign and in various house campaigns. The mudslinging even got down to local state house campaigns; it just took another form. Instead of television commercials, which would be way too expensive, it was the war of flyers being delivered door to door, some of which, at best distorted the truth and, at worst, outright lied about the opponent.

We have nobody but ourselves to blame. People spend each election cycle complaining about negative campaign tactics, and then we elect those people who stoop the lowest, thereby giving our own tacit approval to the very tactics we deplore. I really thought we’d seen the worst possible advertising during the 2012 campaign. Then the 2014 campaign heated up and for several candidates, their campaigns sunk to new lows.

I am not a native Minnesotan; I’ve only been here for 34 years. But in that time I think I’ve become pretty Minnesotan in terms of my respect for fairness and decency. Those are two of the attributes I have come to cherish the most in my fellow Minnesotans.

But the kind of nasty, dirty, devious campaigning we see every couple of years, especially in these high-profile elections, tears at the very fabric of our culture as Minnesotans and threatens to make us no better than people who live in those parts of the country where mudslinging and name calling is just an accepted part of life.

That’s not us. We can’t let it become us. Next election, every time you see an ad or a flyer that simply attacks the opponent, cross them off your list. Let our votes tell those who insist on trying to drag us into the gutter with them that we don’t want them representing us.

That would seem to be the only way to get our point across.

John Kemp
ED and CEO
Neighbors, Inc.

What Do Americans Know About Hunger?

i Nov 4th Comments Off by

I saw a report recently about a research project that had been conducted by an organization called Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The research undertook to find out what Americans know about the issue of hunger in our country, and how Americans think the problem should be dealt with. FRAC is the lead advocacy organization working to end hunger in America through stronger public policies.

There were several findings from this research that I found interesting, and one piece of information I found quite surprising.

According to the article, the research found that 45% of American adults believe that hunger is a serious problem, while only 15% don’t believe it is a problem at all. Two of every five Americans have either experienced hunger in the past year, or they personally know someone who has, and that includes nearly half of all people between the ages of 18 and 34.

Three of every 10 Americans, and half of the members of the Millennial Generation, say that either they or a member of their family have used government food assistance programs in the past couple of years. According to the article, that includes at least 25% of nearly every major demographic category. Which I take to mean that hunger is an equal opportunity malady.

The article points out that 64% of women and 49% of men believe that hunger is a worse problem today than it was before the recession began, and this finding cuts across party lines with 56% of Republicans, 54% of Democrats and 60% of Independents believing this to be true.

As to how to address the issue, the article reads, “The vast majority of Americans believe that hunger is a major problem for the country and they are looking to government to lead and develop solutions.” Jim Weill, President of FRAC is quoted as saying “For Congress, the answer is clear. Americans want to see investments in food assistance programs that help struggling families get the food they need.”

Now, it would be easy to brush off this article, and this research, as just another piece of partisan grandstanding, designed to make a political point. So that’s where the surprising piece of information mentioned above comes in. This research was conducted jointly by two different research firms; Hart Research Associates, a Democratic firm, and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, a Republican firm. It’s not very often that you see research firms from both sides of the political aisle collaborating on a project and coming to the same conclusion.

Which leads me to ask, if Americans from across the country who were surveyed for this research get it; if they understand that hunger in America is a very real problem and that it is up to Congress to take the lead in helping solve it, why then don’t those people who supposedly represent us in Congress, or at the State Legislature, get it? Why, if the majority of Americans believe it is up to our legislators to develop and fund programs that will effectively address hunger, do those same legislators cut programs like SNAP, one of the single most effective and efficient hunger fighting programs ever devised?

Or why, at the state level, don’t our lawmakers appropriate an adequate amount of money to support the food shelves that are the front line for feeding people who are hungry throughout the State? If there are 400,000 people in Minnesota who are food insecure (and I believe that is a conservative number) then the amount of money the state currently makes available to support food shelves is sufficient to allow the average food shelf to provide each person with food for one meal. The milk subsidy, which the state makes available to food shelves through Second Harvest Heartland, doesn’t begin until July 1 each year and is exhausted by the middle of October at the latest. Which means that food shelves then pay near retail for milk for the next eight and a half months before the next subsidy kicks in.

What this research tells us is that, at least as far as the issue of hunger is concerned, those people who make policy and pass laws are out of touch with the people who put them in office in the first place. Whether it is through lack of access to information, or a deliberate attempt to avoid information they don’t want to hear, they are out of step with the populace. This well-constructed and well-executed research is unequivocal on that point.

It’s up to each and every one of us to make sure our lawmakers get it! It is up to us to demand that lawmakers make ending hunger a priority and take the lead role in making sure programs and funding are in place to make this a reality.

The research:  http://frac.org/pdf/frac_tyson_oct_2014_public_view_hunger_poll.pdf

John Kemp

Executive Director/CEO

Neighbors, Inc.

Volunteer Recognition Award Announced

i Oct 30th Comments Off by

Drum roll please! Congratulations to John S. for your exceptional contributions to Neighbors, Inc. We want to thank you for everything that you do! Here are some things people had to say about you:

“John’s faithfulness, commitment and versatility amaze me. He is constantly searching for things he can do that will improve our ability to provide food to others. He comes in every Saturday morning to vacuum and mope the food shelf floors. He’s a carpenter, a janitor, a driver, a stock clerk; you name it, he does it; usually out of sight of most people.”

“Today John single-handedly unloaded our entire milk delivery as well as a lot of the grocery delivery.”

Also we had such a great turn out for the first month of volunteer recognition. I want to thank everyone that participated and I would also like to acknowledge these great individuals too.

Shirley W. & Theresa M.
“They always do great work but today they went above and beyond the call of duty!”

Linda F.
“She never stops moving, always helpful and upbeat! She is our go-to person when we have questions.”

Andres F.
“He was able to come in during the summer time to cut the grass. (: I was with him on the 4th of July and I was very impressed with his job!”

Carol M.
“She is a very dynamic person who shows compassion and care for everybody.”

Ramy M.
“[He] never stops moving and works like a one man band. His most spoken words are: I’ll do it; I got it. He is always friendly, too.”

Ruth B.
“[She has] many years of service; [She is] loyal; pleasant to be around; [and is a] lovely woman.”

Carole N.
“[She is] friendly, cooperative with other volunteers, [and] dedicated to volunteering.”

Neighbors is Hiring – Food Shelf Assistant

i Oct 28th Comments Off by

Neighbors, Inc. is looking for a Food Shelf Assistant at our facility in South St. Paul. We are a non-profit social service agency that serves northern Dakota County. Job requires managing volunteers, sorting and stocking food, placing food on shelves according to date and type, packing and assisting with grocery orders for clients, keeping food shelf clean and neat, placing food orders with Second Harvest Heartland and maintaining daily records. Ability to regularly lift up to 50 pounds is a requirement of this position. Fluency in Spanish is highly preferred. Drug and background check is required. Hours are 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is a full time (37.5 hours a week), benefits eligible position but hours may be adjusted from time to time to accommodate need.

Wages:  $12-$14/hr

To apply e-mail your resume to: FoodShelf@neighborsmn.org
NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Deadline to apply:   November 10, 2014.

November Cross Training – MAC and NAPS

i Oct 28th Comments Off by

In November, cross training is focusing on the Mothers and Children (MAC) and Nutritional Assistance for Seniors (NAPS) food distribution program. Work with our friendly Program Coordinator and other volunteers to help deliver boxed essential food goods to the high rise apartments next door to Neighbors. Deliveries will take place on Monday, November 17 from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm and Tuesday, November 18 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Learn about this valuable service provided to people that require extra food support. Sign up for one or both of these opportunities.

 

To sign up, please contact Kazoua Yang at 651-272-1133 or kazoua@neighborsmn.org

Thank You to our Volunteer Drivers!

i Oct 22nd Comments Off by

A special thank you to all of the volunteers who help with the Dial-a-Ride program at Neighbors. Without these volunteers, countless people in our community would not be able to make it to their medical, dental and other essential appointments.

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Drivers were treated to a special night of food, fun and appreciation for their hours (and miles) of service.

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If you have spare time, a reliable vehicle, are over the age of 21, and want to make a difference in your community, sign up to be a volunteer driver! The need for rides continues to grow and so does the need for drivers.

 

 

Come As You Are Fall Spectacular

i Oct 10th Comments Off by

Come As You Are celebrated the start of fall last night. Music and entertainment was provided by local band the “Salt Tree People”, formerly known as the “Salt Tree Boys” with the addition of their first female member.

Come As You Are Participants and Volunteers had a great time at the Fall Spectacular.

Come As You Are Participants and Volunteers had a great time at the Fall Spectacular.

Golden oldies got participants out of their chairs and dancing. We were also fortunate to have Emergency Care Consultants send 10 of their volunteers to help us with a fall art project—engaging the participants in coloring leaves. This art project will decorate the Neighbors’ reception area, compliments of the more than 60 aspiring artists at Come As You Are. ECC and CAYA volunteers standing in front of their leaf project is attached.

Next event: Halloween Party (& Wandersee Family Polka Dance), Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

Contact Neighbors if you would like to attend, at 651-455-5000.

Be ready to bring your Halloween costume!

History – Neighbors Moved 3 Years Ago Today

i Oct 7th Comments Off by

Neighbors finished moving into 222 Grand Ave W on this day just three years ago.

Thank you so much to all of those who helped make the move a success.

Neighbors now has a larger home and is able to deliver considerably more services to our community.

 

This photo was taken after the staff finished up the week of moving.

Picture-Taken-the-First-day-at-222-Grand-Ave-W--10-7-2011-adjusted

 

2014 Duck Race Winners

i Oct 4th Comments Off by

Please click here to see the 2014 Duck Race Winners!

 

Be sure to contact us within 30 days to claim your prize (we have tried to contact everyone already).

 

Duck Race Winners 10-4-2014

Delbert the Duck Visits Story Time

i Oct 2nd Comments Off by


Delbert the Duck had a great time at Story Time at the South St. Paul Library.

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In preparation for the big Duck Races event, Delbert helped read stories and sing songs all about ducks!

Come check out Delbert this Saturday, October 4th during On The Road Again at the Great Neighbors’ Duck Races. Races will run from 11am – 3pm. There is still time to adopt a rubber duck to compete in the races and have a chance at winning prizes. Grand prize is a pair of airline tickets.

Download an adoption certificate today or adopt your ducks at the race!

http://www.neighborsmn.org/event/duck-race-2014/

 

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Ode to Neighbors’ Mighty Ducks

i Oct 1st Comments Off by

185Some say it’s weather for a duck
For Neighbors it’s a sign of luck
Our ducks are ready for the show
The swimming champs are good to go
The ducks love racing – rain or shine
They dream about the finish line
They also care about the reason
They venture out this chilly season
To thrill their fans and strut their stuff
So friends who may not have enough
Will know how much their neighbors care
How ducks know life’s not always fair
How racing ducks can play their part
To show that they too have a heart.

 

Please join us Saturday, October 4th 11-3 during On the Road Again in South St Paul for our 7th Annual Duck Races. Adopt a duck for just $5 or Adopt 5 for $25. We have wonderful prizes and the funds raised will be used in northern Dakota County to support Neighbors’ programs. It is a win-win!

October Workshop – Stress Management

i Sep 30th Comments Off by

stress management workshopAre you feeling stressed out now or do you anticipate holiday stress? Look no further for relief. We are hosting a “Stress Management” workshop on October 9th. Please join other staff and volunteers in learning how to better manage stress.

When: October 9th, 2014
Time: 12 noon – 1 pm
Where: Conference Room (lower level)
Presenter: Jennifer Niedzielski
Professor at Augsburg College

Neighbors Coffee Hour for Volunteers

i Sep 30th Comments Off by

coffee hourWorking hard as a volunteer? Need a break? Want to get to know your fellow volunteers better? Join us for coffee hour at the Black Sheep Coffee Cafe. Coffee and a light snacks will be provided by Neighbors, Inc. Please come and enjoy a cup of coffee – any kind – on Neighbors. Your coffee will be made to order and so it will be fresh and ready for you to drink. Space is limited to the first 50 respondents. Please RSVP to kazoua@neighborsmn.org. This is a way for Neighbors to show our appreciation to our awesome volunteers. The Black Sheep is located at 705 Southview Blvd, South St Paul, MN 55075.

 

What:     Coffee Hour for Volunteers
Where:   Black Sheep Coffee Cafe
Date:       Oct. 28, 2014
Time:      5pm – 6:30 pm

Neighbors Open House

i Sep 30th Comments Off by

open houseThink you know everything about Neighbors? Think again! Neighbors, Inc. is hosting an open house on Thursday, October 16 from 4:00-6:00 pm. The open house will offer tours of the building from knowledgeable volunteers and staff, information booths about each program, and fun videos you can watch while enjoying a light snack. Come and experience how Neighbors fulfills its mission.

Volunteer Recognition – Facebook-Eblast- Social Media Outlets

i Sep 30th Comments Off by

volunteer recognitionDo you know someone who has dedicated their volunteer time at Neighbors and that should be recognized? The Volunteer Programs team has come up with new ways to recognize our volunteers. Please participate and nominate your fellow volunteers! We’d like to offer you the chance to express the same gratitude we feel every day when for our volunteers. Help us appreciate those that serve at Neighbors!

 

How can you participate: Located at Neighbors, Inc. there are 3 ballot boxes with nomination forms. One is in the Clothes Closet by the window, one is in the food shelf by the Vologistic IPad, and the last one is at the front desk by Yudi. Please fill out a form found next to the ballot boxes. It is very simple and easy to do. Not at Neighbors anytime soon? You can also complete the nomination form over the phone or through e-mail by contacting Kazoua Yang at 651-272-1133 or kazoua@neighborsmn.org.