Though it advertises itself as the largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark’s homey facility seems more like a relaxing retreat for the more than 1,000 homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits that come through its doors each year. Cats bask in sunlight within feline apartments as dogs lounge atop soft raised beds in their own spacious kennels, sinking teeth into chew toys and treats. Of course, time at Animal Ark isn't all leisure. Canines awaiting their forever homes stretch their legs across a large outdoor play yard, aptly named the Ark Park, where ample trees and greenery mix with park benches where dogs can train their human friends to sit.
Potential owners can also get to know adoptable pets online. The website posts a first-person profile of each available animal that lists its breed, personality, and master’s degrees.
Joe and Courtney Norgaard, the owners of Local Roots Fine Foods, create made-from-scratch soups with locally-sourced ingredients. Late summer flavors harmonize in the gluten-free garden vegetable soup loaded with zucchini, onion, red potatoes, and carrots in a fire-roasted tomato base. Creamy red-potato-and broccoli-chowder makes bellies purr with its natural decadence, and free-range chicken noodle soup might tempt family members to fake the common cold. All of Local Roots Fine Foods' products are free of hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives, and each of the sampler's six 32-ounce containers arrives filled with enough soup to feed 2–3 people.
Crowds jet to the Eden Prairie’s Flying Cloud Airport for the 2011 AirExpo held by Wings of the North, taking up-close ganders at vintage planes, meeting the historic heroes who flew them, and indulging in other avian entertainments. Explore a period-plane petting zoo during the two-day fair, wandering amid historical and working aircraft such as the P-51C Mustang or popping into the cockpit for a tour of the B-25 bomber Miss Mitchell. Meet a Tuskegee airman and a Black Sheep squadron pilot from World War II, rub elbows with Vietnam veterans, or figure out how Ben Franklin trained kites to drop bombs in the Hall of Legends. Classic cars and military vehicles crash the plane party, adding more grounded mechanics to the weekend.
As part of its mission to improve lung health and prevent lung disease, the American Lung Association in Minnesota educates children, parents, and school personnel about how to manage asthma, a prevalent yet often misunderstood disease.
Through its outdoor summer camp—Camp Superkids—the organization helps children with asthma experience fun outdoor activities in a safe environment and teaches them more about managing their chronic illness. To date, Camp Superkids has provided life-saving asthma education to more than 6,000 Minnesota children.
While one-time food and grocery donations are important to people in need, the question still remains: how can we ensure that same person isn?t in need again tomorrow, or in a month?
Second Harvest Heartland addresses this question by working to provide long-term hunger relief to the community. As a member of Feeding America, and the Upper Midwest?s biggest hunger-relief organization, Second Harvest Heartland continuously accepts donations of dry, refrigerated, and frozen food and stores them in 90,000+ square feet of space. From there, the organization's fleet of trucks delivers the donations to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other community centers. But food distribution is only part of Second Harvest Heartland's mission.
The organization runs programs and initiatives such as Food Rescue, which prevents millions of pounds of food from going unused. Professional drivers head to local grocers to collect food that would otherwise be thrown away?including fresh produce, dairy, and meat?and distributes them to soup kitchens and other partners in Second Harvest Heartland?s 59-county service area. Other programs help educate members of the community, empowering them to get involved in the fight to end hunger.