Press release provided by East Central Energy
Among the many organizations that applied for the East Central Energy (ECE) 2020 Touchstone Energy® Community Award, one stood out due to the scope and nature of its work.
A spark at the heart of its community, Tusen Tack of Braham, currently administers four entities, including a thrift store, food shelf, the Braham Event Center (which is home to their commercial kitchen, Kathy’s Kitchen), and the Alice Studt Library. It is the winner of this year’s award, which comes with a prize of $1,000—a fitting amount for an organization that translates to “thousand thanks” in Swedish.
For the last 31 years, Tusen Tack has been serving East Central Minnesota as a largely volunteer-run organization and currently engages around 200 volunteers. A combination of programs allows the group to contribute financially to community projects, supply food and clothing to area residents, provide meeting space and meals for fundraisers and organizations, and offer educational classes.
“Helping improve the quality of life for residents in East Central Minnesota is one of our goals,” describes Patty Lind, who nominated Tusen Tack for the award. “Dollars stay local when residents can find necessities, enjoy social events, and turn to the safety net of a food shelf when needed.”
After years of fundraising, Tusen Tack opened the Braham Event Center in 2014, a grassroots project that involved a lot of hard work, collaboration, community spirit, and generous donations. However, the event center has served as more than a gathering place. Kitchen volunteers provide delicious creations for guests. Located within the facility is the Braham Food Shelf and a library, which helps fill the digital gap by offering free public access to computers and the internet.
Across town at the thrift store, volunteers take pride in keeping prices low. Shoppers find quality merchandise, and proceeds support Tusen Tack programs and other community projects. Since the pandemic, the store has continued to overcome obstacles. The group’s strength lies in highly-involved volunteers who donate their time to promote the community as an inclusive, thriving place to call home.
“East Central Minnesota is an economically-challenged area,” Lind said. “By offering a wide range of services, Tusen Tack hopes individuals and families will be more stable, and that life will be a little better for citizens and the overall community. By working together, we’ve proved that small towns are stronger than ever.”
ECE presents the Touchstone Energy Community Award annually to a local organization that is making a difference in its community. Due to the financial strain of the pandemic, all applicants received a donation from ECE.
As the local winner, Tusen Tack will be recognized during the ECE annual meeting on April 22, and will be entered in competition for the statewide Touchstone Energy Community Award.