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2 posts from December 2011


A different kind of gift.... #RochMN

Be sure to read today's print edition of the Post-Bulletin. It'll be a different kind of gift because you'll be able to find a place to volunteer, an organization you can donate to and lots of gift-giving ideas for the holidays.

If you want to do some holiday giving to people in need, you'll be able to clip-and-save a list of area non-profits and their holiday wish lists.

The needs are as basic as sockes for women and children at the Women's Shelter to as specific as individual gifts for aging adults with disabilities at Bear Creek Services who have no family.

Years ago I dropped off a college mate at Thanksgiving time. He invited me inside to meet his mother. She'd made a special holiday meal. It consisted of moistened bread in a saucepan stirred with whatever spices she had.

That would be their entire Thanksgiving meal.

It meant a lot to him that she'd gone to all the trouble.

I wondered as I drove away what they would live off for the next three days while I was on holiday and they shared time together before I went back to pick him up. At the appointed time, I did so. And he was standing outside waiting, as had been the plan.

For many people, it's difficult to ask for help during rough times. When your child is sick and you end up at Ronald McDonald House, it can literally mean the difference between financial ruin and scraping by. Or, if you're a foster child and get kicked out of the house on your 18th birthday, the LINK Program can help you gain your footing.

If you're an adult with disabilities and want supported independence, Bear Creek Services can help. If you've been attacked by a violent abuser, the Women's Shelter can help (507-285-1010).

If you've ever used the Ronald McDonald House, the LINK Program at the Rochester Area Family Y, the Salvation Army or Legal Assistance, perhaps you'll find a gift to give on behalf of one of your loved ones. Zumbro Valley Mental Health offers services for homeless individuals. Unless you've lived on the street or in your car, it's tough to imagine what it's really like in a Minnesota winter — or to ask for help from the Dorothy Day Hospitality House homeless shelter here, or the Interfaith Hospitality Network. But such organizations are here to help.

The Salvation Army says 6001 hours of red-kettle bell ringing are expected to be donated by area volunteers this year (2011). Salvation Army funds the Good Samaritan medical and dental clinic here in Rochester, Minnesota, for example. For families and individuals without financial resources, the clinics can be a godsend.

If you're unable to help out financially, maybe you'll want to donate some of your time by volunteering. You can call and ask for volunteer opportunities at various non-profits by dialing 2-1-1 on any landline telephone in Minnesota ( on cell phones 800-543-7709; TTY 1-800-861-7364).

If you're interested in Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringing in particular, you can sign up at or call 288-3663.

Salvation Army volunteers are trying to raise $330,000. So far, they've raised just over $132,000, with just 11 bell-ringing days left.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel


Winter farmers market Saturday (December 10).... #RochMN

In town for a medical checkup? Got loved ones in town for the holidays?

Here's something for you to do that can be fun, entertaining and something to get everyone out of the house for a while.

Check out the winter Rochester Downtown Farmers Market at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds. Head south on Broadway (which is also called highway 63) with downtown behind you and the giant ear of corn water tower in front of you. 

Turn left on 16th Street S.E., four blocks south of the giant ear of corn. There, you'll find the farmers market at the fairgrounds on your left.

Time: 9 a.m. to 12 noon

Date: Saturday December 10 (and December 17)

Location: Corner of 16th Street S.E. and Broadway

You never know what you'll find at the farmers market, winter included. My favorite is bags of dehydrated vegetables that you can take home and make into soup. Yum!

"This week and every Winter Market date, cooking demos at the Prairie Hollow Farm stall," says the market website.

The market notes it is comprised of local growers who grow their food within 50 miles of Rochester.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel