Thousands of pounds of food made their way to the Brainerd Salvation Army this year and there's only one way for them to get there.
Three Baxter Lions - Conrad and Marlene Molin and Red Clifford - have been delivering groceries every Thursday to the Salvation Army for the past 20 years and they do it all out of the goodness of their hearts.
On Thursday, the three delivered 706 pounds of food, plus 400 Beanie Babies to bring their total contribution this month to 2,774 pounds.
"It's been a good month," said 93-year-old Clifford, who lives in Brainerd. "It's not like that all of the time. I just delivered 634 pounds on Monday."
This is one of two vans that was packed with food Thursday that was delivered to the Brainerd Salvation Army. Three members of the Baxter Lions have been delivering food to the Salvation Army for at least 20 years. Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The Baxter Lions members pick up groceries at Cub Foods, Super One Foods and Super Wal-Mart in Baxter and at Cub Foods in Brainerd. The stores put together $5 and $10 donation bags for residents to purchase for the Salvation Army. This year the trio delivered 19,659 pounds thus far. They always deliver the food on Thursdays, but they do make multiple trips during the week if there is an abundance of food.
"It's a good feeling to try to help people," said Conrad Molin, 73, rural Brainerd. "The Salvation Army was picking up the food themselves and the three of us and another couple, who doesn't live here anymore, thought we'd help them out and deliver the food ourselves.
"It (the donated food) helps the community. I think there are a lot of people who need help and this is one way for us to do what we can to help people out a little bit. Plus, this helps the Salvation Army."
Clifford said, "This is something I could do and I enjoy it. When you get to my age you need something to do and this gets me out a bit.
"I've always done service work. I delivered Meals on Wheels for 35 years and I've done this for many, many years. I also delivered Christmas baskets for the needy."
Red Clifford, 93, Brainerd, Thursday unpacked his van that was full of bags of food he delivered to the Brainerd Salvation Army. Clifford has been delivering food to the Salvation Army for at least 20 years. Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger » Purchase reprints of this photo.
When the Molins and Clifford arrive at the stores they pack up the donated food themselves in their vans and then head to the Salvation Army. Then Salvation Army staff and volunteers help them unpack the food, which is then weighed.
Debbie Lick, the Salvation Army food shelf coordinator, said the Molins and Clifford are "absolutely wonderful." Lick said these three Baxter Lions are committed to delivering the food and they come no matter the weather.
"They do this all on their own and if they didn't we'd have to go get the food ourselves," Lick said. "And that'd take us a lot of time."
Conrad Molin of rural Brainerd Thursday stood by the scale at the Brainerd Salvation Army to see how much the food weighed that he helped deliver that day. Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Sandy Johnson, gambling manager of the Baxter Lions, said the organization has donated to the Salvation Army for many years. Johnson said the Baxter Lions used to donate around $2,000-$3,000 a year, but with the leaner economic times it's able to donate only $1,300.
"We support them as much as we can," said Johnson.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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