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Volunteer opportunities give employees a way to make a difference

Sometimes Christmas presents are just too unwieldy to wrap.

Think gutters, for instance.

Advantage seamless gutters recently donated labor and material to put gutters on a Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity house on Birch Drive in Baxter.

“We feel good to be able to give back a little to people who can’t afford it,” said Cory Jay of Advantage. “We are hopefully going to surprise (the family) them with a Christmas gift.”

Jay started Advantage in 2009 as a contractor and later moved into strictly doing seamless gutters.

The company previously donated thousands of dollars in labor to roof a Habitat home.

It’s just one example of the many things area businesses, large and small, do to help the community.

Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity will be hosting a volunteer appreciation and new volunteer recruiting lunch event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 8 at the ReStore at 1110 Wright St. across from the National Guard Armory. For more about volunteer opportunities, call 828-8517.

Slumberland Furniture is providing new beds through its annual Making Homes for the Holidays program.

Throughout the month of December, Slumberland Furniture as a whole reported it will donate about 2,000 mattress and box spring sets to nonprofit partners in the

communities it serves.

Slumberland Furniture in Baxter donated 10 mattress sets with the help of Lutheran Social Services.

Lakeview Community Church in Hillman donated quilts and Walmart in Baxter donated sheet sets.

“For far too many families, a warm bed has become a luxury,” said Brett Smith, Baxter Slumberland manager. “With Making Homes for the Holidays, Slumberland is working to ensure that everyone in our communities gets a healthy nights’ sleep.”

Slumberland reports it donated more than 20,000 new mattresses and box springs since the program began in 1993.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is committing $6.8 million in 2013 to Habitat for Humanity International. The funds will help build 113 homes across the United States.

Thrivent reports total contributions to the Thrivent Builds program will exceed $180 million and 3.5 million volunteer hours since 2005.

“This partnership reflects our commitment, as a membership organization, to building stronger communities,” said Brad Hewitt, president and CEO of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. “This support helps to make a difference not only in the lives of people who need safe, affordable housing, but also in the lives of our member volunteers who have been inspired to help people in need.”

More than 2,900 homes have been built in the United States and around the world with the Thrivent Builds program, the company reported.

“The experience is very rewarding in many ways,” said Pastor Bonnie Wilcox, in a news release. Wilcox has volunteered on seven Thrivent Builds projects. “It’s just such a powerful way to affect change in the lives of others.”

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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