Happy holidays, indeed.

The Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army set a new record with its latest holiday food gift card fundraiser by raising $29,000 for gift cards for those requiring food assistance.

“It was a bit of a surprise. That was way over what we had anticipated raising, which we’re not complaining by any stretch of the imagination,” Capt. Jeff Curran said Thursday, Jan. 14.

The faith-based charitable organization has been partnering with Cub Foods and Hubbard Radio since 2008 to provide gift cards during the Christmas season, which allow the needy to provide a nice holiday meal for their families to make the holidays more special.

“Food is a basic necessity — it’s kind of a staple of life — but most of us have the memory, at some point in our lives, of growing up and sharing a holiday meal with our families,” Curran said. “It’s just a way to gather everybody together to share in the blessings of the year.”

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Due to the generosity of the community and the efforts of Hubbard Radio stations, the Cub Foods in Brainerd and Baxter, and SuperValu in Pequot Lakes, Curran the Salvation Army was able to raise almost double the highest total for any year since the food program began.

Capts. Joyce and Jeff Curran of the Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army hold an oversized check for the more than $29,000 that was raised for the charitable organization's annual holiday food gift card program. Pete Mohs / Brainerd Dispatch
Capts. Joyce and Jeff Curran of the Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army hold an oversized check for the more than $29,000 that was raised for the charitable organization's annual holiday food gift card program. Pete Mohs / Brainerd Dispatch

“In the past, we have fallen short of our goal and have had to limit the number of families who receive these cards. This year has been different,” Curran said.

The amount raised by the Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army ensured that no family went without a holiday meal. More than 700 families received holiday food gift cards, according to Curran.

“Whenever we do something, usually there’s food involved. We gather for family reunions, there’s a meal involved. We gather for the holidays, there’s a meal involved,” Curran said.

The Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army also surpassed its Red Kettle Campaign goal of $155,000 by more than $18,000 despite 600 fewer hours of ringing and half the number of volunteers in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to Curran.

“We really are humbled by the generosity of this community, and the people keep showing that time after time. I understand what the Brainerd lakes slogan means when they say, ‘Lakes Country Cares,’” Curran said in reference to the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce slogan.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL.