Military Family Support Group and DARTS are named runners up

Dakota Electric Association named The Open Door, Eagan, as the local 2017 Touchstone Energy Community Award winner. Military Family Support Group, Burnsville, and DARTS, West St. Paul, were named runners-up, and each of the non-profits received a plaque and a check for $500.

Touchstone energy winners holding their plaques with Dakota Electric board members.

Touchstone Energy Community Award (back row L-R): Ken Danner, DEA; Dee & Bernie Strohfus, Military Family Support Group; Clay Van De Bogart, DEA; (front row L-R): Judy Kimmes, DEA; Carol Wirsbinski, Open Door; Ann Bailey, DARTS; Lois & Jim Finan, Military Family Support Group; Jerry Pittman, DEA.

“Dakota Electric is proud to be able to recognize these organizations doing great work in our local communities,” said Greg Miller, Dakota Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “As a member-owned cooperative, we are committed to our local communities and this is one way we encourage and honor those who are like-minded.”

The Open Door’s innovative approach using Mobile Food Pantries is helping to tackle the unique challenges of suburban hunger. Since 2013, they have been bringing fresh and healthy food options directly to parts of local communities where it is needed most. The Pop Up Produce Stands program, just launched in 2017, uses social media and other community connections to distribute farm-fresh produce to people in a short amount of time. The Open Door’s Mobile Food Pantries served nearly 12,000 people in 2016 and distributed more than 183,000 pounds of food.

Military Family Support Group seeks to provide military personnel serving in war zones care packages and support to reassure them that they are not forgotten. DARTS provides home services and transportation to elderly and disabled in Dakota County along with providing older adults volunteer opportunities.

The Touchstone Energy Community Award recognizes organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community.

The Open Door award application will be submitted to the statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. The statewide award recipient will be selected from local award winners throughout Minnesota and will receive $1,000. The Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award will be announced in February, during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s annual meeting in St. Paul.