Partners in Success
Since I’ve began with Loaves and Fishes, I’ve realized how truly important community partners are in a nonprofit’s success. Our new “Farm for All” initiative, a collaborative effort with the Greater Twin Cities United Way, has been one of the most interactive outreach efforts that I have been tasked with. My morning routine consists of: calling our farmer Kimberly and asking what items she needs for each farm, calling a few different hardware and gardening stores near our sites to educate them about our project and its importance to our guests, going out with our intern Zoe to look for possible product donations, and then – repeating the process. It’s quite talking-intensive, but being able to connect with local businesses that are kind enough to donate to our farms is well-worth a hoarse voice at the end of the day.
Two businesses that we recently connected with on a more personal level were the St. Louis Park Home Depot and Welna’s Hardware Inc. When talking with Sharon on the phone, the Home Depot Store Manager, it was clear she had a generous heart and would go out of her way to make sure we were given the tools we needed. After walking out with an outdoor trashcan and utility cart for the amazing total of $0.02, I was full of hope that our farms would certainly prosper and grow the food needed to serve at our dining sites.
Later that afternoon, we headed to an ACE Hardware store owned by Mark and Cathy Welna, Welna’s Hardware Inc., and met their daughter, Molly. She kindly gave us a tour around their shop and asked what we were still in need of. Zoe was hesitant to ask for too many items, but with Molly’s gracious smile and insistence, we were able to ask for exactly what we needed. As easy as it is for some companies to say, “we need rubber bands; somebody order some!” our budget looks for people like the Welnas to fill in the gaps.
As I sit at my desk in the morning with a strong cup of Joe, researching ways to help out our farmers and grow food for people in need, I’m reminded daily of the generosity of my community. Partnerships, like the ones we’ve created, show that many people are passionate about Loaves and Fishes’ mission and are working hard to end hunger in Minnesota.
By Jordan Pinneke – Marketing & Development Intern, Loaves and Fishes