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Bremer grant helps local families struggling to meet basic needs

The Salvation Army serving Douglas County recently received a $49,000 grant from the Bremer Emergency Fund.

The goal of the fund is to provide emergency financial assistance to families and individuals who are struggling to provide basics such as food, stable housing, health care and reliable transportation.

A joint effort of the Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Bank, the fund is a direct financial response to current economic challenges. Grants were given to 81 community organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin that totaled $4.2 million.

"We recognize that timely financial assistance can sometimes make the difference between instability and security, enabling families and individuals to meet emergency needs and retain housing or jobs," said William Lipschultz, foundation trustee. "Once people are able to meet their basic needs and avert a crisis situation, they are in a better position to access community programs that can help them achieve long-term economic stability."

Communities in Greater Minnesota with a Bremer presence received $1.3 million. The following is a sample list of organizations in the Alexandria area that received funding from the Bremer Emergency Fund:

•Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action (Fergus Falls) - $50,000.

•The Salvation Army (Alexandria/Douglas County) - $49,000.

•The Salvation Army (Morris/Stevens counties) - $35,000.

•The Salvation Army (Starbuck/Pope County) - $15,000.

•West Central Minnesota Communities Action (Elbow Lake) - $100,000.

"These nonprofits are critical partners in the effort to build a healthier community," said David Kjos, chief executive officer of Bremer Bank Alexandria. "These grants truly represent a helping hand to those who are most in need during a very difficult time. I invite other individuals and businesses to offer a helping hand to someone who is struggling; our whole community is the healthier for your support."

The Bremer Emergency Fund honors the legacy and vision of foundation and bank founder, Otto Bremer, who believed that people could survive and flourish if they had help at critical times. In the 1930s during the Great Depression, Bremer liquidated many of his personal assets to help the "countryside" banks, in which he had invested, ride out the hard times.