During this national health crisis and the dark global pandemic, one call to action was answered by a labor of love that sprouted goodwill and brought light to the city of Farmington.

This goodwill call to action was a brainstorm of Joshua Hoyt, Farmington City Council member. He wanted to inspire and enlist local businesses and faith leaders to bring food to many seniors and families who have no transportation and may be food insecure.

This community goodwill effort has unfolded three months after the town’s only grocery store closed.

Two Dakota County Lumber trucks headed up to the Second Harvest food bank in Maplewood and hauled 20,000 pounds of groceries onto 15 pallets to feed more than 1,350 residents and put more than 500 bags of staple groceries onto tables of local seniors and families.

During the statewide peacetime emergency, the local food shelf and Caring Hearts have been closed. Hoyt wanted to use volunteers to solve this issue and ease residents’ minds.

Volunteers following safe and proper food handling processes sorted and filled brown sacks with groceries inside Faith Church in downtown Farmington. Many other volunteers from other churches gave time.

Dakota County Lumber in Farmington made this road trip possible.

Sunny Bowman, second generation owner of the lumber company, heard about the call to action via Facebook from Hoyt’s messaging and video. Bowman said it was a joy to help make it happen. The local lumber company donated two drivers and two trucks to drive to Second Harvest food bank. Kemps Dairy in Farmington also donated many products.

“We have used some brainpower to figure out how to deliver the food,” Bowman.

Many volunteers stood up to become a part of that effort while respecting the social distancing guidelines.

“One of the things that I feel strongly about being in business is using our resources where we can to help other people, and so I told Josh anything that Dakota County Lumber can do to help out, let us know,” Bowman said.

Dozens of local businesses and residents are also giving of their time and resources. This goodwill effort became a silver lining and community call to action, Bowman said.

Dakota County Lumber was opened in 1984 by founder Steve Finden, who is Bowman’s father. The business has expanded its Highway 3 building in recent years on land that is near the street where Finden grew up.

“We are very connected to the families in town and we do business with his (Finden’s) friends that are still in business and whom I have grown up going to school with who are business owners now,” Bowman said.

“Is is really interesting because Farmington has always been a place, even though it has grown incredibly in the time we have opened, it has always had that small town ‘we take care of each other feel’ and now is when that shines,” she added.

“Everything fell into place and that is really nice in the face of this time when everything is really falling apart, and with this thing everything has really gone right,” Bowman said. “Someone said their prayers or did a rain dance because it all came together.”

Kara Hildreth can be reached at farmington.thisweek@ecm-inc.com.

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