Providing food and resources to those in need
December 2016

A Note from the Director
We’re Bigger and Better Together!

Hello! Welcome to our new newsletter! We’re excited to have a new way of sharing all the exciting things happening at the Friends in Need Food Shelf and connecting you with the work we’re doing to support those in need right here in our community. 

In May, we moved into our new distribution center at 535 4th Street in St. Paul Park (located behind Carbone’s and the Park Café). This move was made possible by a generous donation of land as well as $250,000 in mortgage assistance from our good friends at St. Paul Park Refining Company. Our new distribution center, with greater square footage, enables us to significantly expand and improve how we serve our clients. For instance, we’ve been able to implement a Client Choice Model (a best practice) which provides a more respectful approach to serving our clients as they can now shop the aisles and make their own selections rather than getting groceries packed by volunteers. .

We served 29,000 people last year, something we couldn’t do without the dedicated and caring work of our 160 volunteers! We are so grateful to each and every one of you who share your time and talents with us. Friends in Need has become a beacon of hope for many individuals, families, and senior citizens in our community who are often forced to wonder how they’re going to put food on the table. Friends in Need provides the help they need thanks to the generous support of the community around us. Our local businesses, civic organizations, corporations, schools, and churches are amazing. We couldn't do this without you!

Thank you!

Michelle Rageth
Executive Director
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Our Oktoberfest Family Event
Danke schon (Thank you!)
A BIG thank you to everyone who came out for our 4th annual Oktoberfest fundraising event on Sunday, Oct 16. Held at the beautiful Hope Glen Farm, we raised over $13,000!

“Oktoberfest is an important part of our budget,” says Executive Director, Michelle Rageth. “This year the money we raised at Oktoberfest is helping support our operating fund.”  

This year’s visitors participated in a silent auction, enjoyed live music, pumpkin painting, face painting, games, a bouncy house, whimsical balloon creations by the ever-popular Mandana, and hayrides.

A special shout-out to our friends with the Cottage Grove Lions who cooked up all the delicious brats and hot dogs and organized the beer and wine walls and to the New-Park Lions who stoked the fire and provided the S’mores. We couldn’t do it without you!

Oktoberfest 2016 Crazy George
Oktoberfest 2016 Beer Wall

Thank you to all our generous sponsors. You helped make Oktoberfest successful!

  • Francesca Vaala 
  • Darlene Scott                    
  • New-Park Lions Club  
  • Andrea and Re/Max Professionals            
  • Cottage Grove Lions        
  • Keller Williams                  
  • Anchor Bank               
  • Renewal by Andersen      
  • LSP Cottage Grove          
  • Mary Slusser & Spartan Promotional Group
A special thanks to Michael and Paula Bushilla and Hope Glen Farm for hosting Oktoberfest. You provided us with such a beautiful venue!! 

Oktoberfest 2016
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The Holiday Train is Coming (Friday Dec. 9)!
Lights! Music! Train! (and Santa Claus, too!)
Holiday Train Logo
For the 14th year in a row, the (brightly lit!) Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be making a stop in Cottage Grove on Friday, December 9 at 5:45 pm.

The Holiday Train helps raise awareness of hunger throughout North America, but most importantly, in our own community. All proceeds from our fundraising efforts, as well as sponsor donations, support the Friends in Need Food Shelf, which serves the communities of Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, and Grey Cloud Island. 

“Since 2003, we have raised $846,964 in cash donations, plus thousands of pounds of food and toiletry items,” says Mary Slusser, co-chair of the Holiday Train stop in Cottage Grove. “We work very closely with our businesses, schools, organizations, and individuals, and through our grassroots fundraising events, we are able to provide food for thousands of families each year!”
Be sure to come out for the Holiday Train, a fun family night, on Friday, December 9! Stop by and see Santa Claus, hear great music, and enjoy food and hot beverages. The first 2,300 kids will receive a free Glo-Stick! Hope to see you there!
Friday, December 9
7064 W. Point Douglas Rd, Cottage Grove (across from the Youth Services Bureau)
The Holiday Train arrives at 5:45 p.m. with a stage show at 6 p.m.  

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Settling in to Our New Space

Yes, indeed, as Michelle mentioned above, we moved into our new digs in May! We’re so proud of our new space because it enables us to more efficiently serve our clients. When clients walk in they see something similar to a grocery store with several aisles of food that they can shop and make their own selections.

We also have a fabulous new walk-in refrigerator and freezer which makes it easier to supply clients with eggs, milk, cheese and other perishables.
Exterior of Food Shelf
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Volunteer Spotlight:
Lois Stolte, Volunteer Coordinator
Lois started volunteering at Friends in Need in 2003 and served on our Board of Directors for six years. She has served as our volunteer coordinator for many years and is personally responsible for recruiting many of our volunteers. Lois makes sure each position on each shift is covered and often comes in multiple times on Tuesdays to fill in when needed. Since most of our volunteers are retirees, winter can be an especially challenging time to staff as many “fly south” for the winter. However, Lois always makes sure we are fully staffed. 

Lois also assists Carol Borg with preparing wonderful lunches for the volunteers, which really adds to the closeness they feel with each other. When asked why she continues to volunteer after all these years, Lois replied, “Being able to help our clients and the community makes me feel like I get just as much out of it as the clients do. It also makes me more thankful for everything I have. I never take things for granted when I see people struggling with so much less.” 

We are very grateful to have Lois on our team!  
Lois Stolte, Volunteer Coordinator
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Special Thanks to a New Donor!

It really made our day when we opened the mail to find a check from the Cloverleaf Bar & Grill in Newport. They recently held their 1st Annual BBQ Cook-Off & Competition as a brand-new fundraiser bringing in $990 for the Friends in Need Food Shelf! Owner, Kay Decker, told us she hopes to do a fundraiser of some sort for us every year!

Thank you to everyone at the Cloverleaf Bar & Grill and to everyone who participated in the BBQ competition! Your support is greatly appreciated and will help us provide food for our friends and neighbors in need.

Mike Seerup (left), who helped set up the event, congratulates first place winner, Chris Antholz.
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Wishing you and yours a peace-filled holiday season!
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Friends in Need is a nonprofit community-funded food shelf providing food assistance and resources to those in need in the South Washington County communities of Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, and Grey Cloud Island. Each week we serve around 160 families, providing them with bountiful amounts of fresh produce, meat, milk, eggs, non-perishable food, and toiletries. Friends in Need also functions as a place for people in the community to volunteer their time and talents in service to others. 
Our Vision
Improving lives by ending hunger.

Our Mission
Provide food and resources to those in need. 
For more information on how you can support or become involved with the Friends in Need Food Shelf, please call Executive Director, Michelle Rageth, at 651 458.0730 or email:

If you would like to contribute to our work in the community, y ou may send a check to Friends in Need P.O. Box 6, Cottage Grove, MN  55016. Or  visit: to use your PayPal account or your credit card (processed by PayPal.)

Thank you!