this holiday season
Holiday shoppers in Brainerd and Baxter can give cheer this holiday season to area seniors by participating in the Be a Santa to a Senior program.
The program, run by the local Home Instead Senior Care office in partnership with area retailers, volunteers and members of the community, helps ensure isolated seniors receive gifts and companionship during the holidays.
An estimated 27 percent of people 65 and older (10.8 million people) are widowed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Further, the Administration on Aging reports about 28 percent (11.8 million) non-institutionalized people 65 and older live alone.
Retailers participating in Be a Santa to a Senior will display Christmas trees through Dec. 11 that feature ornaments with seniors’ first names and their gift requests. Holiday shoppers can pick an ornament from these trees, buy the items listed and return them unwrapped to the store, with the ornament attached.
Be a Santa to a Senior trees will be located at Guide Point Pharmacy in Brainerd and Crosby; Black Bear Lodge and Saloon, Crow Wing County Social Services, Woodland Good Samaritan Village, The Center, North Central Medical Supply, Caribou Coffee and Home Instead Senior Care, all in Brainerd; and Heartwood Senior Living in Crosby.
The Home Instead Senior Care Brainerd office will enlist volunteers from its staff, senior-care business associates, non-profit workers and others to collect, wrap and distribute the gifts to local seniors who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.
“Be a Santa to a Senior gives back to older adults in our area, many of whom have had significant, positive influence on our lives,” said Deb Cranny, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Brainerd. “During this season of giving, we encourage shoppers to buy a little extra to say thank you to these community members.”
For more information about the program, visit BeaSantatoaSenior.com or call 824-0077.
■ Minnesota receives USDA grant supporting local foods in schools
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that Minnesota is one of 71 projects spanning 42 states to receive support this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Program. The program is an effort to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and producers.
The MDA’s Minnesota Grown and Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) work cooperatively to support Farm to School in Minnesota. This fall, Commissioner Dave Frederickson toured classes with Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius to highlight the success students see from Farm to School funding.
The MDA will receive a $90,761 grant to support any of Minnesota’s school districts interested in participating with Farm to School. Currently, 179 of the state’s districts participate and the MDA strives to increase involvement. The MDA plans to use the USDA grant to hire someone to work with MAITC and Minnesota Grown as they introduce more districts to the School Gardening Guide. The new hire will work directly with schools in 2014 to help food service staff source more local foods by forming strong roots with Minnesota Grown farmers.
■ Blood drive opportunities
Those who are interested in donating blood may do so at the following places: from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at Pierz Healy High School, 112 Kamnic St., Pierz; from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 9, American Legion, 232 Fourth St., Ironton; from 1-7 p.m. Dec. 12, Pequot Lakes High School, 243 Olson St., Pequot Lakes; from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 13, St. Mathias Catholic Church, 4529 County Road 121, Fort Ripley; and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14, Westgate Mall, 1272 Highway 210 West, Brainerd.
■ Crow Wing Farm Bureau members contribute to S.D. rancher relief
The Crow Wing County Farm Bureau and area Farm Bureau members were among those who took part in a Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation Auction to raise more than $22,000 for the South Dakota Farm Bureau Cares fund. The money will be used for South Dakota rancher relief relating to a recent storm. The auction was part of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Annual Meeting held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Nov. 21-23.
Farm Bureau is encouraging individuals and county Farm Bureaus to continue to give to support their fellow farmers and ranchers in western South Dakota. In addition, all proceeds from the auction were donated to assist ranch families impacted by the early October blizzard.
Tens of thousands of head of livestock were lost in the storm. The ranch families are facing a very difficult economic hardship as they decide how to regain footing and rebuild.
South Dakota Farm Bureau Cares is designed to help ranch families impacted by the blizzard with immediate financial needs: cash for groceries, utility bills, or whatever they feel would be helpful to their family and household.
All of the donations will go directly to ranch families impacted by the blizzard. Donations are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable to: Farmers & Merchants Bank/S.D. Farm Bureau Cares and sent to South Dakota Farm Bureau, PO Box 1426, Huron, SD 57350.
■ Brainerd FFA horse judging team advances to state
The Brainerd FFA horse judging team made up of Sierra Hynes, Hailey Smude, Kaitlyn Borgstrom and Rylee Minten recently took second place to advance to the state competition.
The team competed on Nov. 13 in Foley.
The team will advance to the state convention in April with the rest of the Brainerd FFA members.
■ Blue Jackets awarded to local FFA members
The Minnesota FFA Foundation recently presented the official FFA jacket to members of the Brainerd FFA Chapter.
Hailey Smude and Hannah Studinski were selected to receive their own jacket.
The Blue Jacket Bright Futures program provides sponsored FFA jackets to Minnesota youths who are starting their FFA career. This is the fourth year the Minnesota FFA Foundation has offered the program.
“This program is valuable as it provides students with a jacket for their FFA involvement. Having a jacket provides a real sense of pride,” states Minnesota FFA’s leadership development coordinator, Leah Addington. “FFA plays an important role in the development of leaders that serve their local school and the agricultural community as a whole.”
For more information about the Blue Jacket Bright Futures program, contact Aarsvold at 507-534-0188 or visit our website at www.mnffafoundation.org.
■ United Way takes part in Giving Tuesday
On Tuesday United Way of Crow Wing and Southern Cass Counties is participating in the Second Annual Giving Tuesday event supported by the Case Foundation, CrowdRise, Network for Good, and SixDegrees.org. This one-day event provides participating nonprofit organizations with up to $75,000 in matching grants.
“We have a window from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. tomorrow to raise as much as we can in order to secure matching funds,” Amy Gray, United Way Community Relations Specialist, said.
The Case Foundation is providing $1 for $1 matching grants for all funds raised up to $60,000, but that is spread out amongst every participating organization.
“The earlier in the day people give, the better our chances for securing a matching grant,” said Gray. “The first five nonprofits to secure 20 donors receive $5,000 each, so this is certainly a day where the phrase ‘give early, give often’ comes to mind.”
United Way of Crow Wing and Southern Cass Counties’ mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community and currently provides financial support to 31 local nonprofit agencies supporting community members in the areas of education, income and health.
Donations may be made at the fundraising website www.crowdrise.com/unitedwaycwsc <http://www.crowdrise.com/unitedwaycwsc> . While the matching grants are only available Tuesday, the website will be up and accepting donations until Jan. 6.
■ Brainerd and Little Falls FFA attend national convention
About 20 people from Brainerd and Little Falls recently attended the 2013 National FFA Convention and Expo held in Indianapolis.
Attending were Mikayla Rahto, Justin Thesing, TJ Graves, Verionica Nelson, Wade Gisenhof, Sarah Smude, Hailey Smude, Mari Beth Thayer, Tasmyn Fliesher, Abby Schreier, Alyson Koering, Raychel Raddatz, and Zach Tschida went from the Brainerd FFA chapter. Advisers who went were Denise Reeser and Jerry Koering. The Brainerd and Little Falls FFA members went to Churchill Downs, Fair Oaks Dairy and Pig Farm, a concert, a rodeo, and sessions at the convention.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
■ Caughey recognized by Minnesota
Rosanne Caughey of the Crow Wing County Farm Bureau received recognition on Nov. 22 for her continuous outstanding membership recruitment. The recognition was announce in Bloomington during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th annual meeting. Caughey was recognized as a Tillers Award member in the Producer’s Club for signing five voting members in one year.
■ Nisswa American Legion Auxiliary annual bake sale and silent auction
NISSWA — The Nisswa American Legion Auxiliary will have its annual holiday bake sale and silent auction from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Nisswa Legion Post.