From the Director of CARE

We can all agree, the first half of the year presented our community and country with many new challenges. We all learned how to social distance and wear colorful masks when going out in public. COVID-19 challenges also affected service delivery for our seniors and our annual fundraising activities. CARE quickly responded to the needs of seniors by providing additional grocery delivery services to help high-risk seniors to remain living safely and independently in their homes. CARE assisted seniors needing essential rides to dialysis and chemotherapy to get to their appointments.

We experienced shortages; toilet tissue, cleaners, Clorox wipes, and meat became scarce. CARE purchased much-needed items for seniors unable to go out and continues to do so because some shortages still exist and change frequently in the grocery stores. One thing we can all agree on is our lives have definitely changed. I’m hoping it makes us all a little kinder and more tolerable of others.

CARE – Community Action Respecting Elders has been working with local farmers, such as Svihel Vegetable Farm and Stoney Brook Farm, to help get free fresh produce out in our area, and I would like to thank both of them for their generosity. CARE also partnered with the C.R.O.S.S. Center and Second Harvest Heartland to provide fresh produce, dairy products, and meat items to residents in Benton County. We have set up a food distribution location at CARE where participants can safely receive their food packages while staying in their vehicles. CARE volunteers are also busy delivering to homebound clients and to senior apartment complexes. Over 60 tons of food have been distributed in our community since April.

We have been blessed with numerous donations (such as meat, butter, eggs, personal care items, and more) from generous individuals wanting to help. I could never have imagined a lack of toilet paper on the shelves of stores. Getting these items into the hands of those in need was very pressing.

So many wonderful people and organizations came out to support the CARE program. I would like to thank all of you; the Benton County Commissioners for additional funding and for providing a location to distribute food; Foley Public Works for the use of their trailer and forklift; and the Foley Police for safely directing traffic.

I would like to give a special thanks to all of the CARE volunteers and Foley School volunteers who helped at our food distribution, burger & brat booth, and the shabby chic boutique. We tried to conduct events safely while recovering a portion of lost fundraising revenue. There is no way this could happen without our dedicated volunteers.

I have no words to express my gratitude to all the businesses, organizations, and individuals who sent donations during our COVID-19 appeal campaign. To date, CARE has received over $10,000 in donations. This is so important because CARE will lose over $36,000 in canceled fundraising activities this year.

We have received additional grant funding from Central Minnesota Council on Aging, Benton County, Second Harvest Heartland, Foley Area Chamber of Commerce, and Foley Community Foundation. And thanks to Frandsen Bank and Trust for their assistance with the Payroll Protection Plan. all of you made it possible for CARE to continue serving seniors and respond to families of all ages since the beginning of the pandemic. As many of us search for what our new normal will be, high-risk seniors will still need our help, and CARE is committed to being there now and in the uncertain future months ahead. God bless all of you for your generosity and kind wishes.