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Essentia-supported program reaches major milestone

Some of the most sought-after services through the referral program were food access, benefits assistance, behavioral health needs and housing.

Portrait of young man suffering for depression
Portrait of young man suffering for depression

A collaborative effort between Essentia Health and several other local and statewide organizations has reached a milestone — 1,000 referrals — officials announced recently.

The program is called Resourceful. The goal is to make it easy for people facing social needs — and those who help others — to find and make referrals to appropriate programs and services for food, shelter, health care, work, financial assistance and more.

“This program has connected so many of those in need with much-needed assistance,” said Emily Kuenstler, Essentia Health’s community health director, in a news release.

The program was launched in April, with the first referral coming in August.

“We are very proud of what has been accomplished with all of our partners on this project to help lift up our communities and provide assistance to some of our most vulnerable community members,” Kuenstler stated.


Food access through Hunger Solutions Minnesota and Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, benefits assistance through Community Action Duluth and behavioral health help through the Lake Superior Community Health Center were among the programs where the most referrals were made.

“Oftentimes, one of the biggest barriers to obtaining resources is the knowledge of where to access the necessary help,” said Kara Griffin, a licensed social worker with Crow Wing County Community Services, in the news release.

Some of the most sought-after services through Resourceful were food access, benefits assistance, behavioral health needs and housing.

“Resourceful acts as a repository to help people navigate and find the help they desperately need,” Griffin stated.

The program connects people to services in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Funding for this project is supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and UCare.

Resourceful is a collaborative effort between Essentia Health, Wilderness Health, Generations Health Care Initiatives and Stratis Health who have partnered with Find Help, formerly known as Aunt Bertha, to provide this free online platform.

For more information, visit the Resourceful website at .

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