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  • Writer's pictureKay Kuehn, Exec. Director

What's Happening & Taking Time to Play

It seems like a long time since I wrote my blog and there is a good reason why. During the month of August we were without internet service for one period of 4 days and another period of two weeks! I will not go into the long story of that debacle but suffice to say it was not fun for anyone in the building. On one hand it was nice to have time to catch up on things that require my attention other than on the computer. But when it comes to communication, email is the primary method most people use these days, and that was unacceptable. Thankfully we are back online and hope this will not happen again any time soon, just sayin'... Much has happened at Open Hands Midway since the last blog post. On Sunday, July 25 we held our 6th Annual Golf & Dinner Outing Fundraiser. We had a wonderful turnout of golfers and those attending the dinner. For the first time we had a silent auction which was a huge success. Next year's event is already scheduled for Sunday, July 31, 2022. Mark your calendar well in advance so you can plan to attend. I had the joy of playing golf again this year and I want to share a little story from that day that touched me. My group had just finished putting out on a short hole and noticed a couple coming behind us that were not a part of the Open Hands Midway golf group. We stopped and asked them if they would like to play through as we were part of a golf fundraiser and wanted to let our next group catch up with us. The woman said, "Oh, I saw those signs and wondered what was going on. I figured they had just forgotten to remove the signs from yesterday." We told her what they were for and she and her friend went and teed off. She returned to us and handed me a $50.00 bill saying that she loved to hear about the good work we were doing at Open Hands Midway. But the story doesn't end there. When we finished our round and went to put our clubs in our vehicles the woman was doing the same. I walked up to her and asked her if she would like a brochure about our organization. She said yes and asked me more about what we do. She stated she was so grateful that our paths crossed and that she could help with this small gift. The very next day as we were serving our Monday meal a guest came in to get a meal and some groceries. As he was leaving he asked one of our volunteers if he could direct him to the person in charge. He came over and said, "They told me to talk to you, Kay." He said he didn't have much but wanted to thank us for his meal. The man proceeded to hand me a small amount of bills and some coins, $3.74 to be exact. When I told him it was all free and he didn't need to do this he said I want to help where I can. Then there is this story. I was attending a picnic with many of my neighbors. I started talking to a couple of my neighbors and they asked me what I do for a living. I told them about Open Hands Midway. We had a very long talk about Open Hands Midway, their church and how the husband of this couple had grown up in St. Paul. The next day I received an email stating a $100.00 online donation had been made to Open Hands Midway. As I looked closer to find out who the donor was I saw my neighbors name listed! It just goes to show that sharing the Open Hands Midway story does make an impact and people are happy to be a part of something that makes a difference, just sayin'...

In early July we received word that a grant from Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless we had applied for was being awarded to us. The purpose of our grant request is to help us replace old aging refrigerators and freezers, most of these units being at least 10 years old but some we really have no idea how old they are. Due to supply and demand our order will not be fulfilled until the end of September. But when that day comes we look forward to not having to worry if one of the current units decides to be a problem, something we have had to deal with over the last year. We also offer our thanks to one of our church partners and an individual donor who were gracious in supporting this project as well, just sayin'... For 5 weeks in late August and early September we held our annual produce distribution event. This is a time when Second Harvest Heartland delivers anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables that we freely give to our guests. We are excited to have served 243 new guests at this program! Thank you to the wonderful volunteers who gave of their time to help with sorting, set up and clean up. We never had a rainy day either so that made distribution so much easier, just sayin'... In the coming weeks we will be sending out our fall appeal letter. Some organizations have needs that are specific to a certain time of the year. At Open Hands Midway, with programming held year round, every time of year is a time of need. Hunger does not take time off so we need to do our best to make sure we have the resources to buy food for meals and food shelf programming. If you are on our mailing list watch for that letter soon. If not and you would like to be, please email and request to be put on the list. I cannot talk about work only because all work and no play makes all of us a bit edgy, myself included. That is why I have often told you how much I enjoy riding my bike. To me it is a wonderful way of getting away from a tough day or a way of letting go of a daily grind of work. The picture at the beginning of this blog was taken along the mighty Mississippi River on one of my many bike adventures so far this summer. I had such a joyful summer biking many areas of the Twin Cities that I had never biked before. Some of my rides have been as long as 50 miles but there is no better feeling than getting out and enjoying the beauty of creation. I have done some rides solo and some with a very good friend. We both agree we seem to be a good fit riding together with similar endurance levels. We have had funny times, like getting lost around the airport, or shall I say being perplexed that google maps shows roads that do not seem to exist, or the upexpected detour of the Cedar Lake Trail. I often wonder if my friend thinks I have lost my mind when I define the rules and go around 'CLOSED ROAD' or 'BRIDGE OUT' signs. I figure we get where we want to go and my friend continues to go along so it must not be all that bad, just sayin'... We have been awed by the majesty and power of Minnehaha falls, the serenity of Minnehaha creek, the vastness of the Mississippi River and the grandeur of the chain of lakes. But nothing compares, at least for me, to the beauty of silence among nature when all you can hear is the sound of birds and your own heart beat. It is those times when I find I do not want to get back on my bike and continue the ride but rather dwell in the moment that I find I have been placed. Sometimes play is just good for the soul and I am glad to be able to play on my bike, just sayin'...

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