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

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:

• 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