The Crookston Care & Share has received a $50,000 grant from the Bremer Foundation with Bremer Bank for general purpose use. The grant was a part of the Foundation’s new grant focus to be given to charities and chose the Crookston Care & Share after they applied for the grant.
While the Care & Share always looks to apply for grants to help keep the Center running, the Center had an extreme interest in this one to help pay its volunteers.
“If everybody wants to remember this last year with what happened with wages and how hard it was to find people. Honestly, we had to take a hard look at ourselves in how we were paying our folks here and, how we were valuing them, how we were approaching them, and we had to increase wages, and rightfully so. This was exactly what needed to happen, and we now have an excellent crew in place with dedicated people who come to work and want to be here to work. However, the impact on our budget was huge, and it all had to do with wages,” Care & Share Director Jane Freeman explained. “There’s nothing wrong with that, and it needed to happen, but we got caught with that on the second year of our grant cycle, which we didn’t anticipate, so we didn’t have that money built in at the time. So, this grant from Bremer allows us to do what we really need to do to retain good employees, which is so important when you have a vulnerable group of people we’re working with.”
Along with the grant, the Care & Share still works to fundraise money for the Center and received over $20,400 during Giving Hearts Day in February, which exceeded their goal of $20,000.
“I need to give a great, big thank-you for donations from people in the community. I have to say that we met our goal and went slightly above it. We had over $20,400 come in as a result of Giving Hearts Day, and that can’t happen without the community support and donations that come in,” said Freeman. “I have to say that a very strong pillar of our financial situation that comes in is donations from the public, and everybody showed up for Giving Hearts Day. $20,000 is huge for us and makes a big difference, so thank you, everybody, for that.”
With the grant and fundraisers over, the Care & Share is now swapping items and clothing in its donation room from winter to spring.
“In our donation room, we’re in the process of swapping over our winter clothing into spring clothing. The donation room will always stay open throughout our transition here during the hours of our Food Shelf, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays,” said Freeman. “However, now, when you come into the donation room, you’ll see some new and different clothes that will maybe be a little lighter in color and not so heavy, and we’re getting ready for that.”
Freeman and other Care & Share members believe the transition from winter to spring clothes and items will be completed by the end of this week.