Thanksgiving overflows

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” —2 Corinthians 4:15-16

Each year, families in need throughout the Brainerd Lakes Area are able to share a Thanksgiving meal thanks to the generosity of many in our community.

Nine years ago, Bridges of Hope began a seasonal campaign pairing donors with families in need each Thanksgiving. Donors provide a turkey and accompanying side dishes, and deliver to their ‘adopted family’ just prior to Thanksgiving Thursday.

(It’s) super rewarding,” commented one donor. “I was able to provide two meals and lots of extras with the help of my great friends and family. The tears of joy from  one of the moms we gave to was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. She was BEYOND grateful! Amazing!”pie

Referrals come in to Bridges of Hope of families in need by a variety of organizations throughout the area. Bridges staff solicits interested individuals willing to donate a meal, and then pair families with sponsors based on geographic area and any other preferences a sponsor may have.

Bridges of Hope Program Specialist Janelle Vesely said while the number of sponsors varies from year to year, the need for meals continues to be great.

At this point, we are on track to serve 200-plus households,” she noted. “If that is the case we still need more sponsors; specifically in the Crosby, Deerwood and Ironton area.”

In 2016, the Thanksgiving Meals program:

    • Served 222 households consisting of 947 people
      • 556 children (0-17)
      • 391 adults (18+)
    • Found the largest household served was 14 people
    • Found the average household size was 4

     

Consider making the holidays a little brighter for someone. The deadline to sponsor a family is November 15th. For additional information, call Bridges of Hope or visit http://bit.ly/BoHThanksgiving

–Written by Jenny Holmes with assistance from Janelle Vesely
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Alyssa’s Moment

Alyssa and Dan had been married for several years. The couple has two active children, solid jobs, vehicles, and a comfortable home; the average American dream as we know it. But when pressure builds, it must go somewhere. Through the ups and downs of their relationship, Dan had become abusive to Alyssa. Eventually, enough was enough and she resolved to get out, so she started saving money to help her move. It didn’t take long for Dan to catch on to her motive, however, and he promptly soaked up all her financial stores.

Alyssa had a job, a car, and a goal. With no support other than her own income, she decided to start saving once again, and hopefully avoid her husband’s scrutiny. Her perseverance paid off, and with a down payment and first month’s rent, Alyssa was able to secure an apartment. But because of her lack of credit and rental history, the agency also required an additional security deposit; another obstacle. Violence at home had been mounting, and Alyssa desperately needed a way out, so she called Bridges of Hope.

Bridges partnered with another local ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, to raise funds for the additional deposit Alyssa needed. The life of a single parent was something she was financially unfamiliar with, but Alyssa met this challenge with a strict budget, and even asked for additional tools to help her succeed!

The Lakes Area is blessed to have several agencies that serve the underprivileged. Every organization has their own specific lines to guide how they operate, which can inadvertently create a gap in services. Because of your generosity, the people who fall through those gaps have a place to call for help. Thank you for partnering with Bridges of Hope in our community!

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If you or someone you know is facing a difficult situation and not sure what to do next, call our office 218.825.7682 and speak with a Resource Specialist. Our staff can assist you in connecting with the area resources and programs that can help you resolve your situation. 

 

Sara Jo’s Moment

Sara Jo is a single parent of two school-age girls. She had recently been divorced and was living with her mother, something she never thought she would do again, since moving out after high school. Although she appreciated her mother’s willingness to take her and the girls in, Sara Jo knew that she and her girls needed more space than what they had–and so did her mom. Tensions were starting to run high some evenings, as the girls and her mother struggled to adjust to the very different energies of each other. Sara Jo was working, though she did not have a car, so she was relying on rides from co-workers to get to work, which was also quickly wearing thin.

After searching for housing online and making some phone calls, Sara Jo had found a modest apartment that was on the bus line, but she was struggling to come up with both the first month’s rent and the damage deposit required for her to be able to move in. The landlord suggested that Sara Jo call Bridges of Hope to find out about area resources to assist her with these costs.

Sara Jo called Bridges of Hope and spoke with one of our staff, who assessed her situation to see what community resources she would qualify for. We connected her to Lutheran Social Service for assistance, since we could see from Sara Jo’s budget that she would be able to afford the rent and the rest of her ongoing monthly expenses once she was over this hurdle. Sara Jo saved up to pay for the damage deposit for the new place, and Lutheran Social Service was able to cover the cost of the first month’s rent. Bridges then was able to connect Sara Jo with Salem WEST for some much-needed furniture and other household items.

Sara Jo was able to move in to her new place with her girls, and a few weeks later, one of our staff called her to follow-up and make sure things were going okay. Sara Jo said how grateful she was for the assistance and support from Bridges of Hope, and she let us know that she was so happy with the furniture she had received from Salem WEST as well.


If you or someone you know is facing a difficult situation and not sure what to do next, call our office 218.825.7682 and speak with a Resource Specialist. Our staff can assist you in connecting with the area resources and programs that can help you resolve your situation. 

 

Will You Run for Hope This Year?

Written by Jenny Holmes, with assistance from Kassie Heisserer.

Some people run for fun, some run for the free shirt, but on September 16, 2017, we will Run for Hope!

Bridges of Hope is honored to partner with the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce for the 5th-annual Run for Hope, as part of the 44th annual Nisswa Fall Festival and 12th annual Smokin’ Hot BBQ Challenge on Saturday, September 16, 2017.

The Run for Hope has undergone a few transformations this year! In addition to moving north to Nisswa, the Run will begin at 8:30 am–to avoid hazards from past years like swatting mosquitoes and the possibility of tripping in the dark–and a 10K run has been added, in addition to a 5K, a 2-Mile Walk and a Kids’ Dash. (Click here to register now.)

This year’s shirt is a soft (heathered) charcoal grey and features a bright blue logo, but you’re only guaranteed a shirt if you register by August 31!

In addition, the first 200 registrants will receive a limited-edition grey seamless bandana with a blue “Run for Hope” logo!

Proceeds from the Fifth-Annual Run for Hope will support work with individuals and families throughout the Brainerd Lakes Area. Last year alone, Bridges of Hope worked with over 1,600 households with concerns ranging from childcare and transportation to mental health, physical health, housing and transportation.

Finally, the Run is only successful thanks to our generous community sponsors. Click here to view a list of this year’s sponsors! Sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting Nicholle Dean via email or by calling 218.825.7682.

For entry fees and additional information, visit http://bit.ly/rfh2017.

We’ll see you in September!

Third-Annual Afternoon Tea a Success

On Sunday, May 7, over 150 women, girls, and even some gentlemen joined Bridges of Hope at Cragun’s Legacy Pavilion on a beautiful and sunny afternoon in support of the women participating in Bridges’ Side by Side Mentoring Program, at the third-annual Afternoon Tea for Hope.

This year’s event raised over $13,000 and featured a raffle, silent auction, games, food, and the ever-popular fire fighters from Brainerd and Nisswa who served tea & coffee, took selfies, sold raffle tickets, and made the afternoon that much more enjoyable overall. Premier sponsors included Cragun’s Legacy Courses and Bloom Designs.

   

 

As the director of Bridges of Hope, it has been my privilege to get to know the Mentors, Volunteers, and Participants of Side by Side on a much deeper level over the past nine months. These women inspire me, humble me, and challenge me to be a better version of myself.

Side by Side is based on the premise that change–real, lasting change in one’s life–takes time and support from others. Our program focuses on a small “cohort” of women over a long period of time, who are tired of the day-to-day chaos and are ready to dive in head-first, taking on the challenges of chronic poverty, broken relationships, past hurts, and more. During the Tea, we showed a brief video that highlighted some of the challenges that Side by Side Participants, Mentors, Volunteers, and program staff have overcome; as well as showcasing many of the strengths of these incredible women. This video was a powerful reminder of how much we have in common as human beings, even when we might be coming from different places in life.

Bridges of Hope is currently seeking 8-10 new volunteer Mentors for Side by Side, as we have a waiting list of women ready to become program Participants, but we need enough Mentors to support them on this journey! Our program seeks a 2:1 ratio of Mentors to Participants. A Mentor is a women who wants to develop supportive relationships with program Participants; has an ability to communicate with Participants openly and non-judgmentally; shows concern for and acceptance of persons with internal and external barriers; offers practical problem-solving suggestions; demonstrates a sensitivity to and respect for persons of different educational, economic, cultural or racial backgrounds; and is flexible. Intrigued? Learn more here and email Kassie to get started.

On behalf of our Board, staff, and the women of Side by Side, I would like to thank you once again for participating in this year’s Afternoon Tea and for supporting the Side by Side program at Bridges of Hope! We hope to host a similar event sometime next year. Until then…

 

Dressed to Bless

Teatime is a great time–and excuse–to put on your finest and channel your inner English aristocrat.

Looking for a fun new dress, jewelry, shoes or hat for this year’s Afternoon Tea For Hope without breaking the bank? I recently stopped at the Baxter location of Common Goods and asked Danell to show me a few affordable frocks…and she didn’t disappoint.

We had a fabulous time looking through heels, pearls, dresses, hats and more. There were also a few beautiful tea sets for those who’d like to continue the tradition of tea time long past May 7th. So be sure to stop at Common Goods in Baxter or Crosslake before the Afternoon Tea for Hope and treat yourself to something that will make you feel extra sophisticated for sipping tea!

              

And don’t forget to get your tickets! Click here to purchase by the seat or table. See you Sunday, May 7th at 2:00 PM at The Legacy at Cragun’s.

            

Pinkies up! It’s time for Tea


The Bridges of Hope Afternoon Tea for Hope is just around the corner. With a new venue, sure to ‘stir’ excitement, this is a fantastic event for a fabulous cause!Sipping tea got me thinking about proper teatime etiquette. Obviously, the Afternoon Tea isn’t necessarily a formal affair; however, gloves and hats have been spotted at past events.

During some searching, I came across fun and fascinating information regarding how the tradition of afternoon tea came to be. According to “A Social History of Tea” by Jane Pettigrew:


‘Tea was generally consumed within a lady’s closet or bedchamber and for a mainly female gathering. The tea itself and the delicate pieces of porcelain for brewing and drinking it were displayed in the closet, and inventories for wealthy households during the 17th and 18th centuries list tea equipage not in kitchens or dining rooms but in these small private closets or boudoirs.”

While drinking tea as a fashionable event is credited to Catharine of Braganza, the actual taking of tea in the afternoon developed into a new social event some time in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s. Jane Austen hints of afternoon tea as early as 1804 in an unfinished novel. It is said that the afternoon tea tradition was established by Anne, Duchess of Bedford. She requested light sandwiches be brought to her in the late afternoon because she had a ‘sinking feeling’ during that time because of the long gap between meals. She began to invite others to join her and thus became the tradition.

What I found even more interesting is that, according to ‘proper tea etiquette,’ it is not correct to put your pinky finger up when sipping tea. “A guest should look into the teacup when drinking – never over it.

So here’s a spot of other teatime tips….

When attending a tea party:

  • Always begin with a greeting and/or handshake.
  • After sitting down, put your purse on your lap or behind you against the chair back.
  • Napkin placement — unfold napkin on your lap. If you must leave, temporarily place napkin on chair.
  • Sugar/lemon — sugar is placed in cup first, then thinly sliced lemon; but never milk and lemon together. Although highly debated, milk goes in after tea, according to the Washington School of Protocol. The habit of putting milk in tea came from the French. “To put milk in your tea before sugar is to cross the path of love, perhaps never to marry.” (Tea superstition)
  • The correct order when eating on a tea tray is to eat savories first, scones next and sweets last. However, many have changed the order somewhat. Many like their guests to eat the scones first while they are hot, then move to savories, then sweets.
  • Scones — split horizontally with knife, curd and cream is placed on plate. Use the knife to put cream/curd on each bite. Eat with fingers neatly.
  • Proper placement of spoon: the spoon always goes behind cup. Also, don’t leave the spoon in the cup. (Gasp!!)

Regardless of how you take your tea, we hope you plan to join us for the Afternoon Tea for Hope at The Legacy at Cragun’s on Sunday, May 7th at 2:00 PM. To purchase your ticket or table, click here.