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Communities that KARE: Helping Hands of Alexandria

A Facebook group that launched at the start of the pandemic has turned into a small army of volunteers and wealth of generosity.

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Helping Hands of Alexandria is the definition of grassroots.

It started with grocery runs, pharmacy pickups during the start of COVID-19 pandemic and has expanded to so much more.

The group began with Kelsi Timm recognizing a need and saying a prayer.

"I was just thinking about it and also asking the Lord, if this was something he wanted me to do. I heard the words 'Helping Hands' and so I'm like 'Okay, I think I'm supposed to,'" said Timm.

Timm turned to Facebook to ask her women's bible study group to help her help the vulnerable, like the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

"I was thinking of my grandparents and I also have a nephew that's battling lymphoma right now," recalled Timm.

Word spread and the group gained interest. Membership jumped from 500 people in the first days to now a massive volunteer army of nearly 5,000.

Helping Hands branched out from deliveries and takes on many initiatives including providing gift baskets to every front line and essential worker imaginable. 

Then, there is the art. "A local artist she asked, she just put it in the group saying, 'hey I'd love to come and spread some cheer,'" explained Timm.

Then it turned into a huge citywide campaign with murals decorating businesses and the local hospital.

Timm says she can't take the credit for Helping Hands' success. She owes it to the community.

"I don't know, it just feels great to help people, doesn't it? I don't know of anybody that's not felt good after helping somebody," said Timm. 

Timm has a partner in all of this. Nattiel Dammer is the manager of the Aldi in Alexandria.

Nattiel turned the store into a donation drop off site and helps shop and buy the groceries for Helping Hands deliveries.

To learn more how you can help Dammer and Timm, visit helpinghandsalex.com

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