Making An Impact: Blattner’s 2022 Food Drive Generates $220,000.
Helen Skutley has been the director of the Hanover (Minnesota) Food Shelf since 1980 so if there is one thing she knows, it’s understanding what time of year people are typically generous.
After Christmas, donations slow down. That’s why Skutley is beyond excited every spring when Blattner Company (the parent company of Blattner Energy and D.H. Blattner & Sons) comes through with a donation.
This year, Blattner’s employees in the corporate office in Avon, Minnesota, and at jobsites throughout the country, rallied together to raise more than $220,000 to help people in need as part of its annual food drive. Blattner’s corporate office’s donations added up to $158,000. The Blattner project field staff, located on wind and solar renewable energy construction sites throughout the country, collected cash donations of more than $62,000.
Blattner has conducted the annual food drive to serve food shelves across the country for 24 years. In that time, employees have contributed more than 1.4 million food and household items and more than $860,000. This year, Minnesota-based donations were presented to food shelves in the communities of Albany, Avon, Cold Spring, Hanover, Holdingford and Melrose as part of the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. The project site donations were given to food shelves, shelters, non-profit organizations and people in need located in the site location area.
“All donations are wonderful, but what Blattner does every year for us is awesome,” said Skutley, who runs the food shelf out of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hanover. “When I saw the amount that came in this year, it was beyond my comprehension. Without businesses like Blattner, and the people that work there, we would really be hurting.”
Skutley said this donation helps the food shelf restock to get through the summer months. The Hanover Food Shelf serves more than 152 families per month. The monetary donation from Blattner goes 100 percent toward food purchases.
“Summers are the hardest for us because families come in more often because their kids are home from school,” Skutley said. “Our entire motto is to get kid-friendly food. An adult can go without food for a day or two, but kids can’t. That’s why this donation is so important to us.”
Blattner HR sourcing specialist Mason Burch was one of the employees who delivered donations to the food shelves in Minnesota.
“It was an incredible honor to be able to donate back to our communities,” Burch said. “I am proud to work for a company that takes such pride in doing the right thing for the people who need it the most.”
Melrose Food Shelf
The Melrose Area Food Shelf serves more than 100 families in the community per month.
In great part due to the Blattner food drive donation each year, several awarded grants, other donations, an alliance with Hunger Solutions Minnesota, Second Harvest Heartland and careful planning of the board, the food shelf is able to provide an abundance of fresh produce and meat for the families who come to the food shelf for help.
Food shelves are typically stocked with mostly boxed and canned food options, so having fresh selections is unique. The Melrose Area Food Shelf is equipped with commercial-grade freezers and coolers and even has a demonstration kitchen for teaching clients how to properly prepare different dishes.
The Melrose Food Shelf is able to staff one employee and offers home delivery for people who can’t make it there on their own.
“We are determined to make the world a better place,” said Candi Freeman, Board President and former local home economics teacher. “We look at the best food options for our clients such as fresh meat, dairy, eggs, vegetables, fruit and bread. We are also able to offer personal care items like toiletries and home cleaning products.
“We would not be able to do all that we do without the generosity of people like the employees of Blattner. Blattner is our No. 1 donor, and we are so grateful.”
Holdingford Food Shelf
There isn’t a lot of storage at the Holdingford Food Shelf. Director Mary Stalberger said her storage area is the size of a standard bedroom.
“We don’t belong to Second Harvest. I have a freezer in there and it is stock full. We also have toilet paper, paper towels, meat, canned items and cereals,” said Stalberger, who has led the food shelf in Holdingford since 1994.
Despite a lack of storage space, Stalberger uses Blattner’s annual donation to save up for the rest of the year.
“Blattner’s donation is a God-send,” she said. “It makes a humongous difference. We are filled up after Christmas, but this donation helps keep us stocked for the rest of the year. It’s gotten bigger and bigger every year. A donation like this every year means the world to the families in need.”
ROCORI Food Shelf
The annual food drive donation from Blattner to the ROCORI Area Food Shelf in Cold Spring, Minnesota, impacts 275 families in the area.
The donation makes it possible to provide a larger variety of food, especially much-needed perishables like fresh fruit and vegetables, to people throughout the year.
“Blattner’s willingness to support the needs of neighboring communities shows their commitment to giving back and it demonstrates how much they care,” director Kelly Johnston said.
Albany Food Shelf
The Albany Food Shelf works with Second Harvest Heartland to place orders for certain products. The regional food bank purchases in bulk at a discounted price.
There is usually a 50-50 split between donations from the community and getting food from Second Harvest that it orders from twice a month. But the annual food drive donation from Blattner will help 26 households in the area, including 29 children, 34 adults and nine senior citizens.
Edna Goebel, the food shelf coordinator, said the Albany Food Shelf pays about $900 in rent every three months as well.
“The donation allows me to order from Second Harvest while covering the rent,” Goebel said. “I can’t thank everyone enough from Blattner. I was overwhelmed by the amount we received.”
AVON Food Shelf
Bev Nathe has been leading the Avon Food Shelf since 1989. Her official retirement date as director was December 31, 2021, but she can’t stay away from helping families in need at the town’s St. Benedict Parish Center.
“I’m still on the board of directors and I’m glad to keep helping,” Nathe said.
Every spring, the Avon Food Shelf receives a large donation from Blattner after its employee food drive. Nathe is grateful because the shelves inside the church haven’t been bare since the food drive began.
“What Blattner does is unbelievable,” she said. “They donate the money and let us do the shopping. It’s terrific that they do this for us.”
The Avon Food Shelf serves about 50 people per month. They also give out large packages during holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nathe recalled numerous donations from individual Blattner employees that didn’t come during the food drive.
“Blattner employees are good enough to donate on their own and because of them we’re in a very good position,” Nathe said. “At Christmas time they also give presents away to kids who might not otherwise receive them. I make up the tags for those kids and give them to Blattner. They buy the presents and then deliver them to our clients. I can’t say enough about them.”
Blattner would like to thank all the businesses that donated to this year’s food drive.
They include Coborn’s, Contegrity Group, McDowell Company, Ventoco, Krewe, Panera Bread, Albany Golf Club, North Short Scenic Railroad, Texas Roadhouse, Fisher’s Club, Vye, Girl Scouts of Minnesota, Wild Country 99, Cold Spring Bakery, Shady’s Hometown Tavern, D.J. Bitzan, Gathering Grounds, RRev’s Lakeside Tavern, Granite Ridge Family Farms, Lily B. Photography, Stoney Ridge Treehouse/Lighthouse, United States Axe Throwing, Hair & Body Works, Korppi Coffee, Victory Arms, Weathered Revivals, Indy Foundation, Pickled Loon, Second Street Coffee House, Omni Training Facility, E & Co. Clothing, Charlie’s Café, JD's Taphouse, Jupiter Moon Ice Cream, Kwik Trip, Twin Image Aesthetics, Crossfire Paintball, Albany A&W, Mies Outland, Top Tracer, Trois-Rivieres Training, Pure Bliss Salon & Spa and Jules Bistro.
About Blattner Company
Blattner is Leading America to a Clean Energy Future. With more than 115 years of construction experience, the company has played a vital role in building America’s critical infrastructure, ranging from railroads and highways to dams and mines. Since 1997, Blattner has focused on renewable energy solutions and is responsible for some of the most significant solar, wind, and storage projects in the U.S. Today, Blattner has installed more than 25% of America’s total solar and wind energy capacity. Blattner Company is the parent company of Blattner Energy and D.H. Blattner & Sons, of which all are members of the Quanta Services family of companies. Company headquarters are in Avon, Minnesota. Learn more at https://www.blattnercompany.com/.