Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation awards $18,000 to Community Café


The Community Café was awarded a total of $18,000 towards operations in Grand Rapids and Deer River. “The work of the Community Café serving nutritious home cooked meals to those in need is crucial in our community,” says Sarah Copeland, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Director of Grants and Programs. “We are pleased to provide this much needed funding for the Café in Grand Rapids and Deer River.”


The Community Café is dedicated to reducing hunger and building a stronger community.


Grand Rapids Community Café at Keisler House

In Grand Rapids, Community Café serves an average of 120 meals each Tuesday and Thursday. The Café does not have an income stream and donations are not accepted at the meal site, so funds come specifically from granting organizations, community members, businesses and proceeds from Empty Bowls, the Community Cafe's largest fundraiser.


Full home cooked meals are served in the Keisler Wellness Center in Grand Rapids, by one Kitchen Coordinator and volunteers on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 4:30-6 pm. Food is provided by Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, with supplemental ingredients from Super One Foods. Each night, nutritious meals are served to those in need. No income requirement or other demographic exists. When you visit Community Café in the Keisler House location, you'll see many people who catch a ride from Arrowhead Transit and others who are able to arrange their own transportation or drive themselves. The goal is that no one leaves hungry.


Three grants were awarded to Community Café’s Grand Rapids site. The Barzen Fund and the Larry and C. Jeanne Cook Memorial Fund (donor advised funds) and the Endowed Sharing Fund worked together to provide a total of $8,000.

Dedicated to Reducing Hunger, Community Café Expands Meals in Deer River

The Community Café has fed people in need every Tuesday and Thursday since 2007 in Deer River. In October 2019, Community Café in Deer River opened the doors on a more consistent basis, serving people four nights per week. The Café is located in King Elementary School, which also houses the Deer River Boys & Girls Club, Senior Center and Early Childcare centers along with K-5 elementary age children. Four nights per week at 4:30, people gather and eat supper, together as family and community. Copeland notes, “I am really pleased that the Community Foundation has caring, community-minded people who wanted to support and give back to local organizations that help provide for basic needs in the Greater Itasca Area. Edgar and Hannah Hetteen did just that. Edgar and Hannah made the community one of their heirs. It was simple, actually. They put the Community Foundation as a beneficiary in their will. Even better, they came and talked to us about their intent and priorities, and we helped them build a legacy that will enrich our community forever.”


A $10,000 grant was awarded to the Community Café’s Deer River site from the Edgar and Hannah Hetteen Fund.


The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been connecting donors’ charitable intentions to community needs for over 25 years to make our Greater Itasca Area – and the world – a better place to live. We invite you to become part of the good work we do, and to include us in the conversation with your financial or estate planner to answer the question “What good do you want your money to do?” For more information, stop in or schedule a visit by calling (218) 999-9100.

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350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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