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  • by Kay Kuehn, Executive Director

Oh What a Summer we had!

Oh what a summer we had!

It is hard to believe that summer is nearly over, drats! The thought of wearing long pants, putting on layers of clothes, snow falling and all that goes with it are not all that exciting for me to think of. So let's not! Instead let me tell you about what a great summer we had here at Open Hands that went by all too quickly.

Sydney and the groups from YouthWorks helped us host 8 weeks of Kids' Club, and 8 additional weekly meals on Wednesdays. We hosting our 3rd Annual Golf & Dinner Fundraising event, had a fun community event on Aug. 10 with our Back to School Carnival, and will finish up 6 weeks of Produce Distribution on Wednesday September 19. All this while I tried to stay organized without forgetting things. Sadly, I did not do that last one very well which shows I am not perfect after all, whew, thank goodness for forgiveness, just sayin'...

Once again we were blessed to have the opportunity to send kids from Kids' Club to Hidden Pines Ranch in Stillwater. When I asked one of them what was your favorite thing that you did when you were at camp the reply was, "I didn't have a favorite thing, I LOVED everything!"

Steve, our Open Hands Chef, took on three additional days a week to prepare meals for our Wednesday community meal and the four days of Kids' Club. In the end of May, Steve and I planned 35 meals for the whole summer. So when we recently met to plan ten meals through the end of October we had to laugh about how easy it seemed by comparison, just sayin'...

On July 29 we hosted our 3rd Annual Golf & Dinner Fundraiser at Applewood Hills Golf Course in Stillwater. We were blessed with another gorgeous day and had the most golfers and dinner guests we have ever had!

I had the surprise of winning the prize for the women's longest drive which is tickets to attend a MN United Soccer game in October, my first time. The best part is that I am taking a friend who is a diehard fan so he can guide me through all that I don't know, which is alot. If you attended our event this year you may want to know that we already set a date for 2019 so if you are wanting to take part please mark your calendar now for Sunday, July 28, 2019.

We held our Back to School Carnival on Friday, August 10. It was a gorgeous evening with many lawn games and activities provided by our friends from Shepherd of the Hills, Shoreview. Our friends from Bethlehem-in-the-Midway prepared and served the picnic meal.

The highlight of the evening was the distribution of brand new backpacks filled with school supplies giving children living in poverty a positive note to start school with. We owe a special thank you to our backpack sponsors and to the staff of First American Title Insurance Company who packed the supplies into the backpacks and handed them out to excited children.

I suppose I need to mention my personal highlight, well let me just show you a picture to give you an idea. Yes, that is me and church Custodian, George, cleaning the dumpster. I know, you are asking, why would you clean a dumpster, it's a DUMPSTER!

Simply put it is because of all the food we serve and the fact we add extra food service in the summer, we end up with a really stinky, messy dumpster so each summer we have to clean it. George and I took on the task one hot summer day. Pretty sure this was NOT a part of the duties I was told I would be doing when I took this job, just sayin'...

I have been trying to get a tour set up for the new Allianz Field, future home to the MN United soccer team, since May without much success. I was finally given a date, on short notice, and able to round up a small group for a tour on Tuesday, September 4. BUT don't worry if you were not there and hoped you could have been because we are going to be scheduling another tour soon for two reasons. The first is that we did our tour on short notice and the second is we want to tour when the stadium is a bit further along. If you have interest in being part of a tour, please email me at and let me know.

Once I have a group I will contact Mortenson Construction and set a date. I will let you know ahead of time there are some pretty strict rules to follow in order to be a part of a tour and they involve what you wear. You must wear long pants, long sleeves, some type of hiking boot (they do have a limited supply of various sizes so they may be able to assist with this, they did for one of our recent tour participants). They will provide gloves, hard hats, googles and vests. Additionally, you cannot take pictures and you must sign a waiver prior to the tour. Space is limited so it will on a first come basis for 16 people, make that 15 because I intend to be one of them, just sayin'...

Finally, if you are not aware, Bethlehem-in-the-Midway is going to be housing a third party in their facility. House of Mercy will begin worship on Sunday evenings starting September 9 at 5 pm. I have had conversations with Pastor Scott Simmons, Bethlehem's interim Pastor and JoAnn Nickles, Bethlehem Council Vice President, about any impact this may have on Open Hands. They have assured me that things will go on for Open Hands as planned and if we encounter any problems we will take time to address those as they arise. I appreciate Scott and JoAnn's time to talk with me about this to keep me informed. For now, I can assure you that Open Hands will continue to provide the programs and services we have been without interruption, just sayin'...

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