Just Over Four Weeks To Go!


We’re already 4 weeks into our 2015 Bridges of Hope “I Hope” fall fundraising campaign, and we have been blown away by the generosity of so many individuals who believe in the power of this organization–and in the power of how, together, we can make a difference in the lives of countless people throughout our community.

As of today, we have raised approximately $18,300! You have dug deep and responded with your heart; and, for that, we say ‘thank you!’ Because of your giving spirit, we will continue to serve the needs – both mental, physical and spiritual – of those we are called upon to serve.

Thermo_02Your support makes a big difference. Did you know that in 2014 alone, thanks to you, we provided hope and assistance to over 2,500 households? And this year, during our storm relief efforts in July, we heard from more than 140 households impacted by the storm, which nearly doubled our services during that time! Many households were looking for information about how to access clean water, a shower, a hot meal, or simply where to bring their branches and other debris. In addition, we had the privilege of working with relief groups such as Nechama Jewish Response to Disaster, a Southern Baptist relief group, Catholic United, Menonite Disaster Response, Home Depot, AmeriCorps, and many others–and connected them with 46 households who were elderly, disabled, or facing some other barrier to assess & address the emergent tree removal and yard clean-up needed.

If you haven’t had a chance to make your gift yet, there is still time to make a tax-deductible gift to support others in need in our community. Between now and December 31, we still need to raise about $41,700. A gift of just $175 can support one household in need–and EVERY gift makes a difference.


Giving is easy – visit our website by clicking here. If you’d rather make a contribution in person or by mail, our address is PO Box 742 Brainerd, MN 56401. Checks can be made to Bridges of Hope.

Again, you are the reason Bridges of Hope has been in faithful service since 2002. We thank you for your support and look forward to what 2016 brings!



Join us for Tea Time!


teatime clockHave you heard? It’s “Tea Time” at Bridges of Hope!

That’s right; we are excited to be hosting our first-ever Afternoon Tea for Hope on Sunday, May 3rd at 3:00 PM. This will be an afternoon filled with fine tea, delicious food, lovely music, an exciting silent auction, a fun photo booth, fabulous decor, and good company.

We have the details all taken care of. We just need YOU to invite your daughter, mother, sister, or friends and RSVP to join us!

Kate KuepersYou will not want to miss this event. From the moment you arrive, you will be pampered by your surroundings. Our wonderfully talented friend, Kate Kuepers from Bloom Designs, will turn the Celebration Room at Lutheran Church of the Cross into a scene right out of an English garden!

(You really should check out Kate’s website. She does amazing work!)

While you are enjoying the lovely scenery, butler service will be provided by the finest firemen in the Lakes Area who will serve your tea while you nosh on savory bites from Prairie Bay and dine on delectable dessert from Edible Art Bakery!

Our guests will be entertained by music from local musicians and will have the opportunity to learn about the Side by Side Mentoring program at Bridges of Hope. The goal of the mentoring program is to move participants from a place of survival to place of stability and thriving. Take a few minutes to read about the struggles and accomplishments of Charlotte, Irene, and Samantha who have all participated in the program. We are so proud of their successes and are humbled by the support from the community for this program.

And what would an afternoon out with girlfriends, your mom, or daughter be without a little shopping?! Many local businesses and supporters of Bridges of Hope have donated great items for our silent auction. Here’s a sneak peak:  Vintage+1950s+hatsOh, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Biff Ulm will have his photo booth set up at the event so you can take some photos to remember this beautiful spring day. Feel free to wear your own hat, gloves, and pearls to the event. If you don’t have those things, no worries–the booth will be complete with some fun accessories to “glam up” your pics!

And as if butler service, tea, treats, music, decor, shopping, a photo booth, and some “girl time” isn’t enough…everyone who attends Afternoon Tea for Hope will leave with a small gift, thanks to another group of amazing local businesses! We want to thank YOU for spending part of your afternoon with us and for helping us build Bridges.

If you don’t already have your spot at the Tea reserved, I hope you’ll click here to do so! Tickets are just $40 per person and that supports women like Charlotte, Irene, and Samantha. Space is limited. A ticket to this event would make a great gift for Mother’s Day! Contact Janelle at our office and she can create a gift certificate for you if you would like to give the Afternoon Tea experience to a special person in your life!

Gift CertificateOn behalf of everyone here at Bridges of Hope, I hope to see you for Tea Time!

P.S. If you can’t make it to the Tea event but would still like to contribute to the work of Bridges of Hope, click on any of the images below from our Side by Side program to make a donation now, or email  jana@bridgesofhopemn.org to learn more about sponsorship opportunities for your business.

JUly 8 SbS 015Having a Spa Night Foot Massage

photo2sbs may 007


Common Goods’ Top 10 Most Appreciated Donations

Telescope at Common GoodsAt Common Goods, we literally receive thousands of donations every year–it’s the backbone of our business, and we truly wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the generosity of our faithful donors!

The following is a list I’ve compiled of our “Top Ten” most appreciated donations. These items are our best sellers, are the most sought after by shoppers, and just fit the mission and “vibe” of Common Goods in general. Take a look and see if you’ve ever donated–or purchased–any of the items on the list!


10. Clothing for the whole family

9. Shoes and winter boots for the whole family

8. Games and Puzzles – all pieces included

7. Books – current titles, for the whole family (please no text books, encyclopedias or Readers Digest)

6. Sets of dishes and glassware (3 or more is considered a set)

5. Handbags, purses, luggage

4. Jewelry

3. Stylish Home Decor

2. Furniture – demand is high for home furniture that is clean and in good condition.  Pick up available for large pieces.

1. The unique is always welcome!


Hopefully something on that list inspired you to come in and shop, or to drop off a year-end donation! Common Goods has just started its fourth year of operation, and we are so grateful to the hundreds of generous donors and eager shoppers who have made Common Goods the great store it is today!

If anything on this list inspired you to donate, Common Goods accepts donations Monday – Saturday from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm. Remember that all items donated to Common Goods need to be in clean, saleable condition– with all parts and pieces included. Calling beforehand is recommended, especially if you have a lot to donate. If you have large items, you will need to call and schedule an appointment. When considering whether something is a good fit for our store, you can take a look at our donation guidelines here, and we encourage you to spend some time shopping first at Common Goods if you’ve never been there, to get a good idea about the kinds of items we are able to sell.

Common Goods was created to financially support the work of Bridges of Hope, a faith-based human services nonprofit that has been serving children and families in need since 2002.

Wanted: VHS Tapes

Doug and Jill stopped in to Common Goods on their way to their cabin this summer. They were looking for a few “new” items to decorate with. As they looked around the store, Jill noticed several VHS tapes on a shelf. She excitedly called Doug over–the couple had a VHS player at the cabin, and their grandchildren often requested to watch movies while visiting. Doug and Jill snapped up several children’s titles that day, glad to know they would have something “new” for the grandkids to watch. On the way out of the store, Doug promised they would be back next summer, on the hunt for more VHS tapes!

Believe it or not, VHS tapes are popular at Common Goods–our customers are always looking for VHS tapes, DVDs and CDs in good condition and in their original cases. Children’s titles and family movies are especially popular. Look through your own video and music collection at home, and donate the selections your family no longer enjoys to Common Goods–they just might make someone else’s day!