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
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 email@example.com.
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 – http://vimeo.com/114800015
Come As You Are Program – http://vimeo.com/townsquaretv/comeasyouare
Ever wonder what the holidays are like at Neighbors? Check out this cool picture video of some of this season’s highlights.
Neighbors and our supporters will provide holiday gifts to over 1,000 families this year.
Thanks from our super volunteers Marge and Mary that are organizing clothes for the Love Your Neighbor Program.
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.
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
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
When: Dec. 8th – Dec. 15th
If you are interested please email or call Kazoua at
email@example.com or 651-272-1133
with the program you are interested in and
she will provide you with specific dates and times
Presented by our very own
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-272-1133
by Jan. 6, 2015
*Featuring Asian Food for a light lunch :)*
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.”
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.
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.
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/
This is Neighbors Fall 2014 Newsletter
Give to the Max Day is tomorrow.
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.
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.
ED and CEO
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.
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!”
“She never stops moving, always helpful and upbeat! She is our go-to person when we have questions.”
“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!”
“She is a very dynamic person who shows compassion and care for everybody.”
“[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.”
“[She has] many years of service; [She is] loyal; pleasant to be around; [and is a] lovely woman.”
“[She is] friendly, cooperative with other volunteers, [and] dedicated to volunteering.”
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.
To apply e-mail your resume to: FoodShelf@neighborsmn.org
NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Deadline to apply: November 10, 2014.