Baptism by Fire

THolmesIHopeStarting a new job always comes with ‘first day jitters.’ However, Brainerd’s newest Fire Chief had a baptism by fire – no pun intended.

Tim Holmes’ first day on the job was July 13, 2015 – the morning after a devastating windstorm blew through the Lakes Area – changing the landscape, and countless lives, forever. There was no coffee and donut welcome social. Holmes’ immediately snapped into action, knowing the challenges and hardships being experienced by thousands of residents throughout his service area.

“My family had been out for dinner the night before,” Holmes recounted. “When the storm blew through, we started for home knowing I would be needed to assist with the devastation. But when we drove north along Highway 371, it was like nothing I had ever seen before. Trees and power lines covered the roadway. Rooflines were shrouded by limbs. It’s certainly something I’ll never forget.”

After getting his family home safely, Holmes went to work as a volunteer with the Nisswa Fire Department. The crew spent hours making paths down impassable streets and assessed the situation to ensure there were no injuries. After only a quick night’s rest, Holmes switched hats and reported to work on Monday morning as the Brainerd Fire Chief.

tree down With much of a devastation lying within the Brainerd Fire Department’s service area, Holmes was one of several emergency management personnel who reported to the staging site at Timberwood Church in Nisswa. Together, with organizations and critical service providers throughout the area, the group strategized and quickly formulated a plan to help those in need. One of the partners at the table was Bridges of Hope – standing at the ready to help storm victims.

tree on car“Having lived in the area for some time, I had heard of Bridges of Hope; but I guess I never fully grasped the scope and reach of the organization. It didn’t take long that first day to understand how incredibly instrumental they are. Jana and her team were quick on their feet and eager to step in wherever needed. They remained right along side the first responders and emergency service workers to provide food, water and assistance to thousands of individuals who lost so much to the storm. They worked closely with emergency management to coordinate volunteer groups – providing assistance with everything from tree removal to mental health needs assessments.

Over a span of two weeks, Bridges of Hope worked with more that 140 households whose lives were impacted by the storm.

“I sincerely hope this area never again experiences devastation like we did in July; but I am proud to say I serve in a community that has amazing resources and caring individuals like those at Bridges of Hope who, regardless of the situation, stand ready to selflessly serve others.”

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You can ensure that Bridges of Hope’s services are available when the “storms of life” hit. Please help us reach our goal to raise $60,000 by year-end and share hope with the 300 householdI Hope buttons who will reach out to Bridges of Hope still this year. 

As of 11/16/15, we are just over $9,500–thank you!

Click here to make an online gift or your can  mail a check to PO Box 742, Brainerd, MN 56401. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible and will provide HOPE this holiday season.

Something for Everyone

Ever wonder where you could buy a nearly-life-sized Orangutan Puppet? What about a Snowman Pinata? A bench made from a sleigh bed?  A purse made from an old children’s book? A telescope?

If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s Common Goods! That’s right–all of these things have been for sale at Common Goods at some point in time (maybe even right now!).

Purse from Children's Book

When we say the merchandise changes every day, we really mean that–because our inventory completely depends on what we receive in donations: high-quality, gently-used housewares, clothing, and furniture from the public–from YOU. Common Goods is a community-based thrift store–and YOU make the community part happen in a big way! We are so grateful for your generosity.

Boy with Organutan

Common Goods will be celebrating its fourth anniversary this fall–four years of wonderful donations from hundreds of local donors, four years upcycling and creative re-purposing, four years of loyal shoppers, and hundreds and hundreds of hours from dedicated volunteers.

The profits at Common Goods go back to supporting the work of Bridges of Hope: helping families and individuals with whatever challenge has gotten between them and their family’s safety, stability, and success. In the last four years, that means YOU have helped make a difference in the lives of literally thousands of households here in the Lakes Area.

Sleigh Bed Bench

We have YOU to thank for so much of our success over these last four years, and we hope to continue serving families in need, the community as whole, and YOU even better in our next four years.

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Through the summer (Memorial Day – Labor Day), Common Goods is open 11-5 on Sundays, in addition to our regular hours: Monday through Saturday, 10-6!

Learn more about Common Goods here.

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!

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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!

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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.