Giving Back to our Community

Gratitude is contagious.

The show of support coming from our customers over the last year has been tremendous—it is the single thing that keeps us going, always has been. The way you show up for us—making masks, shopping big, using curbside, sending treats and notes, being engaged, asking after staff—all of this means that we have the love and energy in our bodies to bounce it back into the world.

This year, we commissioned Co-op Hero mugs from local potter John Thomas for staff at both Menomonie Market Food Co-op and Just Local Food Co-op—a special show of gratitude for their heroic work in 2020. Wonderful John decided to have us design a few that said “Healthcare Hero” too. He made forty-eight mugs and offered them free of charge to us to deploy. That gratitude grew even bigger when we asked our customers to round up at the register to add to the mugs.

On Tuesday, March 1st, we delivered huge boxes of healthy snacks to each of the twenty break rooms at Mayo Health Systems in Menomonie, and we deployed forty-eight beautiful gift baskets featuring the mugs, healthy snacks, and self-care items around the community. The connection warmed us right up!

Something as small as rounding up to the next even dollar at the register can have really big effects—and not just this week for our friends in health care.

Our Round Up for Good program is used to fund three programs:

Double Dollars Program: Any Wisconsin Foodshare participant can purchase fruits and vegetables at Menomonie Market Food Co-op with their EBT card, and receive up to $10 in credit toward free fruits and vegetables on their next visit. Through this program, we are stretching food dollars for folks that need it, and we’re getting more local and organic fresh food into bellies in our area.

Fund Our Foodshed Grant Program: Every year we award grants to local farmers and producers for on-farm projects that increase efficiency or sustainability, bring new products to market, or make their work safer. This year we are about to kick off our fourth grant cycle, and we will likely award $10,000 in grant monies.

Menomonie Market Cooperative Community Fund: Menomonie Market Food Co-op participates in an investment fund that is used by cooperatives across the country for growth and expansion. The interest we earn from this fund is donated to local nonprofits in our area, helping to build co-ops nationally while giving locally.

Keep doing the little things when you can—curbside from your favorite restaurant, smile hard through the mask. Those gestures add up to something pretty special and really mean a lot!

This article was originally published in the March/April 2021 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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