When there are needs to be met by residents of a city, and volunteers to fulfill these needs, it seems that there should be a way to connect the two. A way to keep an entire city in touch with each other and stay informed about the many aspects of being a resident of that town by a simple click of a mouse or by making a quick phone call.
A group of Lanesboro residents has cracked this conundrum in the form of LinkMe Lanesboro.
The brainchild of Maureen Anderson was a “wait until we retire” project for Anderson and her husband Dan. She said that after retirement, both she and her husband were able to help people that need it, but did not know who needed help or what kind of help.
In March 2017, Anderson, along with 23 other participants from Lanesboro, attended a week-long Blandin Community Leadership Program in Grand Rapids, Minn.
Participants in the program were encouraged to find a way to give back to the community, states Anderson.
Anderson contacted another Blandin participant, Louise Wolfgramm, who got involved and suggested contacting Duane Benson, who was interested in the same type of project. Duane was a member of Discovery Faith in Lanesboro, and the idea aligned with their mission also, so a $1,000 pledge was given to get LinkMe Lanesboro off the ground.
A grant proposal was created and a core group was founded consisting of Anderson as chairperson and four other Blandin alumni (*part of the grant protocol) including Louise Wolfgramm, Robin Krom, Autumn Johnson and Ed Taylor, along with community members Dan Anderson, Tom Sautter and Linda Sifford. Unfortunately, Duane Benson passed away during this time.
Several organizations have now donated money to LinkMe Lanesboro as it gets up and running. The five Blandin participants in the core group applied for and received one of three $5,000 grants offered to any Blandin alum if a community project met their guidelines.
In November 2019, LinkMe Lanesboro was awarded $5,000 and has also received a $1,000 grant from the Lanesboro Area Community Foundation with the availability of additional funds if needed.
There are many other individuals and organizations who have supported LinkMe Lanesboro, and the founders could not be more grateful for the support that has been shown. Thanks is also given to the City of Lanesboro for being willing to be the Fiscal Agent.
In January 2020, Dave Harrenstein of Lanesboro Web Management Company was hired by LinkMe Lanesboro to make the website more user-friendly and he will be the web manager. Local resident Sarah Peterson was hired as the graphic designer.
So, what exactly is the purpose of LinkMe Lanesboro? The short answer is, “To match those with needs with those that can meet those needs,” according to LinkMe Lanesboro. But there is so much more to the program.
Those interested in contacting LinkMe Lanesboro can do so through a self-sustained website, personal contact or a phone call. The website for LinkMe Lanesboro, linkmelanesboro.org, is currently being created and will be launched this summer. After creating an account, residents are able to view a wide variety of information.
Categories for needs or assistance include:
•Help around the house — cleaning, yard work, changing a light bulb, preparing meals if sick, injured or have a planned surgery, wellness checks, babysitting, pet sitting, house sitting, etc.
•Transportation — rides to doctor or dentist appointments, school functions, church, out to lunch, meetings, etc.
•Errands/Shopping — help buying groceries, mailing a package, picking up needed items, take a pet to the vet, pick up take-out food, etc.
•Advice/Guidance — computer questions, TV remote questions, tutoring for homework, etc.
•Buy-Borrow-Sell-Give away — listing items that residents are selling or looking to borrow or buy. Examples would be, “Does anyone have a post hole digger I can borrow?” or, “I have cardboard moving boxes to give away.”
•Lost & Found — Examples of listings would be, “My black lab escaped, last seen near Hwy. 250 bridge,” or “Found — gold wedding ring at Sylvan Park.”
•Non-Profits — Information about Lanesboro non-profit organizations and any needs they may have. Examples are “Rhubarb Run needs Saturday morning volunteers,” and “Old American flags accepted to Flag Burning Ceremony.”
•Misc. — Any item of information or questions that do not fit into other categories. The example shown on the website is “Does anybody know where I can park my car in the winter?”
There is also a Community News Page on the soon to be launched LinkMe Lanesboro website where residents, businesses and organizations can post information. The Community Links page connects residents to the school, Chamber of Commerce, non-profits, the library, museum, City of Lanesboro, and many others, including the Minnesota Senior Help Line.
There is no cost for residents of all ages to use the LinkMe Lanesboro tool that will connect both city and rural residents of the area, whether they are in need of some type of assistance or if they have the time and talents to volunteer to help.
The goal of LinkMe Lanesboro is “to strengthen and expand our Lanesboro Community by providing the means for neighbors to meet, greet, and help one another,” according to the website.
LinkMe Lanesboro is very appreciative to their donors who have shown support for the program, both financially and through their words of encouragement. If you would like to support LinkMe Lanesboro, a donation can be dropped off at the City of Lanesboro Office or mailed to P.O. Box 333, 202 Parkway Ave. S., Lanesboro, Minn. 55949.
As LinkMe Lanesboro says, “Our community becomes stronger when we are Linked together!”