LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It was quite an eventful year for the Food Shelf

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Perhaps you've been wondering what the Bemidji Community Food Shelf was up to in the past year. Well, here is my Director's Report for 2017. It was a very eventful year for BCFS.

• In February, we elected a new president — Jim Fretheim — and said goodbye to Bill Beyer

• We reached the 10,000-pound milestone for the Lueken's Community Meat Program

• We exceeded our goal of $110,000 for the 2017 Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, and took in 31,233.00 pounds of food

• We received $30,000 for a van from the NFL Legacy Fund and had a press event on June 6 and purchased a commercial van

• We welcomed our amazing VISTA, Emily Schaeffer of York, Pa., who has been working diligently to find ways in which we can strengthen our volunteer program

• We had a lot of emotional ups and downs with two AmeriCorps teams that we didn't get, then we got (Thank you, Oak 5!); then we got, then we didn't get

• We developed our first-ever employee handbook

• We split our treasurer and bookkeeper positions and hired our first paid bookkeeper

• Jim and I conducted over 20 one-on-one visits with board members

• Hannah and I were interviewed by Mark Oppenheim for an Insight video which has run multiple times on Lakeland TV

• We built a Deep Winter Greenhouse and have since hosted both an open house and a training

• We got a new website: bcfsmn.org

• We got a new logo, submitted by an area artist

• We lost the assistance of Sentence to Service, but gained some wonderful volunteers that go to Crookston with our van and trailer once a week

• We harvested 11,000 of produce on the Farm

• We dedicated a Peace Pole

• We decided to go no-smoking within 25 feet of the buildings and received signs from the Lung Association

• Ross Lewis Signs started work on our new signage and van customization

• We lost our warehouse renter

• We received a donation of $20,000 from an anonymous donor

• We had a super successful and very enjoyable Harvest Ball

• We received a CERTS grant to help install LED lighting throughout the building

• We received the resignations of our valuable Farm staff: Hannah Klemm and Candy Barthel

• We served 2,924 families who made 11,282 visits and received 857,903 pounds of food