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Letters: Soup-er Bowl was a success

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On behalf of the board of Stone Soup Thrift Shop, I would like to thank our community for the great success of our first Stone "Soup-er Bowl." Stone Soup teamed with volunteers from Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC to involve the community and businesses with sponsorship opportunities as well as team participation. This was a success in so many ways.

Every participant received a special T-shirt with the wonderful color logo created for us, by local artist, Todd Peterson. It was great to see the excitement of families (adults and children) donning their free shirts and heading off to bowl -- some well-practiced, and others, just having fun, throwing that ball to knock down those pins! Sven Sundgaard, KARE 11's weatherman, helped us award prizes for everyone to take home. There were lots of smiling faces.

Sponsorship from businesses and individuals resulted in achieving the initial $20,000 goal we set. Team pledges added another $10,400, and pledge funds are still arriving. After expenses, we expect to clear at least $25,000. What wonderful community support!

There are so many to thank -- those who contributed funds, prizes and gave lots of time, support, and effort for this successful event. See a list of some of the many contributors on page 10A.

If anyone was missed, it's not intentional. Just in case, thank you too.

It has been more than three years since we reopened. We are still growing, as is evident by our increasing customer base, sales and variety of services. Community donations are keeping our shelves, racks, and furniture rooms full. Below are some highlights from 2008 we would like to share with you:

n Last year, Stone Soup provided vouchers worth $54,273, at no cost to those who lacked the funds to purchase needed household goods, furniture and clothing. (Included: 321 adults, 385 children and community groups.)

n The store provided donated free bread and rolls several days each week.

n Seventy volunteers provided 5,321 hours of services to process donations and organize the store.

n One-hundred and seventy-eight youth and adults provided 2,872 hours of community service. We are proud that later many returned to volunteer.

n We continued to recycle. From 2004 through 2008, we recycled 11,293 bags of clothes and 3,375 pounds of shoes.

n Store sales reached $108,356 in 2008, which helped support our continued community presence.

The impact on the community and our clients, keep us motivated to continue our mission. We want Stone Soup to be here for families and individuals to assure they can stretch their budgets. Rent represents our largest expense, followed by wage costs. We rely on sales, grants, cash donations and fundraising, like our "Soup-er Bowl" to help make up the difference.

We invite you to visit Stone Soup to see the results of your support, and have a fun time shopping. There is something new every day. Volunteers are wanted and welcomed ... they do have a good time. Again, we thank the community for your support. We look forward to your visits to Stone Soup, and also to having you join us for next year's Second Annual Stone Soup-er Bowl. Come one, come all, we expect it will be a bigger and better event.

Majel Carroll

Cottage Grove

Board President, Basic Needs Inc. of South Washington County

d/b/a Stone Soup Thrift Shop

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