How Honeybees Are Helping Minnesotans With Disabilities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Honeybees are helping to change the lives of some Minnesotans living with disabilities. Just last year, Midwest Special Services in Shoreview started a beekeeping program for its clients, making a sweet difference in their lives.

The beauty of busy buzzing bees is that their work creates plenty of work for clients at Midwest Special Services in Shoreview.

Midwest Special Services began keeping bees in 2013 with help from the University of Minnesota. Starting with about 10,000 bees per hive, by the end of the season they could have over 100,000.

Just the thought of all those bees is unnerving, but according to Midwest Special Services program director Kim Alexander, that’s the point.

“There is something very thrilling about doing this that after you’re done you’re like ‘Yes, we did it,'” Alexander said. “You’ve done something you didn’t think you could do, but also you’ve done something that other people didn’t think you can do.”

Alexander said the clients do feel more empowered and confident. And her hope is that the program will evolve into something even more rewarding.

“In the absence of jobs coming to us, we also think about how do we create jobs for people,” she said. “We hope this year will be our first year of honey, so we are going to have people doing labels for our bottles of honey, helping in the bottling process, and ultimately hopefully selling it.”

Midwest Special Services hopes to sell honey at local farmers markets. They also need help making the bees more accessible to all of their clients. If you would like to make a donation to Midwest Special Services, click here.

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