By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You don’t have to go far to see how people are looking out for each other right now.

In Cloquet, a meat market has become the center of a very cool food drive. It started with one donation, and in a few weeks it has grown to giving $70,000 to people in need.

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“The whole economy, it’s been tough for a lot of people right now,” said John Lind, who owns B & B Market in Cloquet with his wife. Last month a friend stopped in and donated 100 pounds of ground beef. It was his way of giving back.

“Year, year and a half ago his son came down with leukemia and the community wrapped around and helped him out,” said John. He put the good deed on Facebook.

What happened next caught him by surprise. Regular customers and even complete strangers began coming in, wanting to help. They’ve given donations ranging from $5 to $1,500, all to be put towards food for those who need it most.

“Every day it seems to get more and more and more,” said John. “It’s amazing how people who don’t have a lot, even they are coming in. There’s an older lady that came in the other day and doesn’t have a lot but she collects quarters. She donated $50 in quarters.”

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Donations have poured in from across the area and from people of all ages. One of the largest cash donation so far came from a fifth grader.

“It feels really good,” said 11-year-old Amaija Halli. Halli and her dad have been making masks for first responders. As a result, she’s received donations of her own. But she took that money – more than $1,000 – and gave it to B& B.

“I think it’s a good way to keep the community thinking that not everything going on is bad,” said Halli.

B & B has now received $70,000 and helped 4,000 people,  but they’ve now increased their goal. They initially hoped for a thousand dollars or two. Their new goal is $100,000.

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“It makes your heart feel good. People are recognizing it and like I said we couldn’t do it without the community support. It’s been unbelievable,” said John.

John Lauritsen