One Year Ago…

Where were you one year ago? I remember clearly that I was in our little office in First Lutheran Church, looking around at stacks of boxes and wondering how we ever fit so many people, file cabinets & desks into one small space! As we were in the midst of planning for our moving dayfire, we had also received word that a local apartment building had burned down the day before and that more than 20 people were homeless.

As a staff, we knew that Bridges of Hope could help these households with sorting out what to do next, but we really had no idea how to reach out to them, as in literally how to get a hold of them. Well, God is good. As our staff members were leaning on stacks of boxes & discussing ways to reach out, the phone rang. It was Pastor Erika Nilsen from Lord of Life. The owner of the apartment building had reached out to her, and Erika told her, “I know who can help. Let me make a phone call.”

Erika knew to call Bridges, hooray! She passed along contact information and I reached out to the apartment owner who told me the tenants of the building were all housed by the Red Cross & Salvation Army at a local hotel. We made arrangement for our staff to go to the hotel later that afternoon and meet with each household. That way they didn’t need to worry about running around town; we brought our process to them. We were happy to make their day easier in just a little way.

Our Resource Specialists stayed connected with each household in the weeks to come, making sure everyone had access to the help they needed to get back on their feet. In the meantime, MN Teen Challenge, Good Samaritan Society, Prairie Bay, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union & Salvation Army came together with Bridges of Hope to host a fundraiser called, Love They Neighbor.

You, the generous Lakfood truck love they neighes Area Community, answered the call and contributed to this fundraiser which ultimately helped Bridges & Salvation Army serve the needs of the families affected by the Hillcrest Apartment Fire.

As we settle into fall, feelings of gratitude wash over me. Thank you for helping us be ready to serve the community when challenging situations arise.

Thank you for making it possible to fulfill our mission: To build bridges of support, anchored in Christ’s love, between families in need and the community assets that can help them thrive and gain hope.

Happy Fall to you!


A Look Back at 2012…Our Annual Report

Our 2012 Annual Report is now available on our website. Annual Report

The annual report gives us an opportunity to thank our donors, reflect on the work you helped us accomplish, and share our successes with you. We are grateful for the support we receive from the Lakes Area and we are humbled by the stories of struggle, challenges, and accomplishments we hear from our clients on a daily basis.

Some highlights from 2012:

  • 1,580 households received vital support for essentials like food, shelter & staying warm
  • We moved into a new office space
  • 650 children had a safe place to stay when their parents needed a break or time to attend to a family crisis
  • Our Family Support Services staff were trained in Parent Coaching
  • 280 households were provided with a holiday meal
  • The Side by Side Mentor Program was established
  • 298 youth & adult volunteers served 4300 hours at Common Goods

Please click here and take the time to review our 2012 Annual Report and know that we are so thankful to YOU for all you’ve helped us accomplish for Lakes Area families!

Happy 4th Anniversary Common Goods!

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Click here to learn more about Common Goods!

 September marks the 4th anniversary of Common Goods being a part of the Bridges of Hope family. The early vision was for Common Goods to be a mission-driven business that would serve the community and generate revenue for the important programming at Bridges of Hope.

Thanks to financial support from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, Crow Wing Power Community Trust, the Initiative Foundation, and Otto Bremer Foundation, that vision became a reality! The proceeds from the last four years at Common Goods have funded Bridges of Hope’s work with more than 1,900 families (Bridges has served nearly 9,000 households in the last four years)!

It really does make a difference when you shop at Common Goods!

We are so thankful to the many volunteers who helped create a colorful, clean & fun shopping space before the store opened and to those who continue to volunteer. In 2012 alone, more than 298 volunteers logged over 1400 volunteer hours at Common Goods. Wow!

2005-08-16 07.00.49Sarah paintingbennett groupBill volunteering at Common Goods                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Suzanne & the entire staff at Common Goods do an amazing job keeping things fresh & fun at Common Goods while also being good stewards of the donations received at the store. Many community organizations benefit from the sharing of donations from Common Goods including Coats for Kids (Kinship Partners), The Women’s Center, New Pathways Common Goods Staffand many more.

We LOVE our shoppers at Common Goods and to thank you all for supporting us over the last four years, we are having weekly drawings for $25 gift certificates to Common Goods! All you have to do is make a purchase during the month of September & you will be given an entry form. Drawings will be held weekly on Saturdays and we will give away 4 – $25 gift certificates each week. The drawings start over each week so shop every week in September for more chances to win!

We appreciate the many ways this community supports Common Goods and Bridges of Hope. On behalf of the families we serve, thank you for shopping and donating!

(P.S. You can click on our photos to read our stories!) AStimson-7StephiepicJack, Dylan and Chloe