Jane is a pretty, young woman who already had more than her share of hardships in life. Jane was dumped at a local gas station by her aunt. She had no belongings, no money and a baby on the way.
Jane felt abandoned. She knew no one in town. Overwhelmed, Jane didn’t know what to do.
Since she was involved in the Pine River-Backus Family Center’s Home Visiting Program, she called the family center for help.
Krissy Tiede, head of the Home Visiting program, picked Jane up at the gas station. Tiede knew the first thing she had to do was get a place for Jane to stay.
The housing department of Bi-Cap found somewhere for Jane to stay that same day. With help from Hidden Jewels Thrift Store (a PR-B Family Center program) and Thrifty Living, Jane had dishes and a mattress to sleep on.
Jodi Perry, Pine River Food Shelf coordinator, and Kari Shipp, AmeriCorps VISTA (a PR-B Family Center service), provided emergency food while a financial worker started the process to get Jane an EBT (food) card.
After the first day, connections were made with Hidden Jewels Thrift Store, Thrifty Living and the generosity of the PR-B Family Center staff. Also, a CEP worker donated a nice hide-a-bed to set up a home for Jane.
But it didn’t stop there. Under the Home Visiting program, Jane is given rides to the grocery store and is learning about healthy choices for her and her baby. Tiede also teaches about purchasing, cooking, nutrition and provides guidance through regular visits.
Jane has accessed mental health services and obtained a library card so she can check out movies and books. Jane said she is appreciative of everything that has been done on her behalf. She didn’t know she could find all the agencies and supportive services she needed under one roof — the Pine River-Backus Family Center on Barclay Avenue.
“It’s not about giving people a hand out but a hand up,” Tiede said.
Jane felt a need to give back. She now volunteers regularly at the Family Center to give back. The Pine River-Backus Family Center oversees all the programs Jane used and many more that serve to meet community needs.
Since the Pine River Area Food Shelf has come under the umbrella of the Family Center, they have been able to expand services, streamline operations and prepare for the future with the addition of part-time paid staff, a VISTA worker and strategic planning.
The number of people with food insecurity in this area is always rising and those needs are being met because of the generosity of community members.
The PR-B Family Center asks for continued support to meet those needs. Residents can do that in two ways this month.
March is designated Minnesota Food Shelf Awareness Month and support is needed with a cash donation, especially this month. A percentage of donations received this month will be matched.
That is why it is essential you send a donation in March for Minnesota Food Shelf Month.
Another way to show support is by attending the first Community “Soups & Sweets” Fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at The Warehouse. Participants will get to pick a soup prepared from soup donors:
Bites, Hungarian Mushroom; Cottage Café, Reuben; Dark Cravings, Tomato Basil; Jr’s #19, Sausage Corn Chowder; and Ole & Lena’s Sweet Revenge, Vegetable Beef.
Food shelf volunteers and the Pine River Bakery will prepare sweets. Janice Stephan Weaver donated a quilt to be raffled. Linda Rasinski has sponsored the music.
The numbers of clients visiting the food shelf tells the story of the need. In January, the food shelf served 489 people and gave out 6,672 pounds of groceries.
Send a check of support for this mission to the Pine River Area Food Shelf, PO Box 1, Pine River, or drop off a donation at the Family Center on Barclay Avenue. Or go online at GiveMN.org and search for the Pine River Area Food Shelf page.