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Limited number of free MANNA memberships available: BC Energize challenges community to match Essentia donation to JOCAL JEWEL program

An initiative of Becker County Energize is to increase access to healthy foods in our community through a united effort! Through this initiative, MANNA Food Co-op and Essentia Health have come together to offer LOCAL JEWEL Sponsorships to join the MANNA Food Co-op.

"Essentia Health has recently donated 20 free memberships, and MANNA wants to challenge our community to match their generosity by making contributions toward this amazing program," says Stacy Salvevold, MANNA Food Co-op Vice President and LOCAL JEWEL program coordinator.

LOCAL JEWEL stands for "Leaving Our Community A Legacy Joining Everyone With Excellent Living." The program allows anyone with a big heart to donate to help people in our community in need to access healthy foods.

"A MANNA Co-op membership costs $150 for life," Salvevold said. "This membership is an ownership share in the co-op, just like a credit union or electric co-op. Individuals, organizations and businesses can donate the value of full memberships or any amount that one wishes. Each time that we total up $150, another membership becomes available for someone in our community... "In addition and most importantly, we are seeking potential members that could be recipients of these donated membership shares." she continued.

Eligibility for the program is based on current enrollment in one of the following:

1) EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) supplemental nutrition assistance;

2) WIC (Women, Infants & Children) food and nutrition services;

3) Medicaid; or

4) A free and reduced school lunch program.

In addition, anyone who has lost an immediate family member to a Disability or Catastrophic illness in the past year is also eligible to receive a membership to help their family in their time of need.

"At present we have 22 sponsorships available and have awarded two memberships thus far," Salvevold said. "If you know someone who would benefit from one of these sponsorships, please give them an application."

LOCAL JEWEL program application forms are available at the website, mannafoodcoop.com, which also has information about how to donate memberships to the LOCAL JEWEL program, or to become a MANNA member.

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