Kids In Need is a national non-profit foundation whose Minnesota chapter is known as Kids In Need Minnesota. Their mission is to “ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies to students most in need throughout Minnesota.” They operate free stores for teachers who work in schools in which 70% of the student population or greater participate in federal lunch assistance programs.
The three main initiatives of Kids In Need Minnesota are their Teacher Resource Center, the Outstate Supplies Initiative, and the Caring Tree Program.
Located in Roseville, MN, the Resource Center offers the opportunity for teachers from eligible Twin Cities Metro Area schools to shop twice per academic year for FREE school supplies to use in their classroom.
Serving school districts located outside of the Twin-Cities metro area, the Outstate Supplies Initiative provides free school supplies to students in rural communities through pre-packaged boxes filled with essential classroom materials. Supply boxes are customized to meet the needs for both elementary and secondary classrooms and are delivered to schools beginning in early fall.
Through partnerships with Minnesota social service agencies, The Caring Tree Program provides free school supplies to students who engage in opportunities provided through these organizations.
Why Their Work Is Important
The statistics are staggering. According to their data, 10.5% of Minnesota families live below the poverty line, affecting over 155,000 Minnesota children. There are approximately 250 Minnesota schools in which 70% of the student body participates in free or reduced lunch programs.
The work done by Kids In Need not only helps the students they serve have an equal opportunity to learn and succeed in the classroom, it also helps the teachers that teach them by giving them the resources they need to get the job done.
How Harmony Helps Kids In Need
This past year, Maia Johnson, Program Support Specialist for the MN branch, reached out to Harmony Enterprises for a solution to their cardboard recycling problems.
Producing an average about 1.3 tons of cardboard biweekly, volunteers had to break it down and store it in a minimum of 12 gaylords before it was collected by a local recycler. After a professional waste assessment, it was recommended that they invest in a vertical cardboard baler to save volunteer time and use less space storing gaylords before pickup. Operational space is a major consideration for them as their organization continues to grow.
With the assistance of Harmony’s helpful sales team, they purchased a M60CB Vertical Baler. The M60CB is a 60″ vertical baler that has several features that allow it to lead in efficiency, safety, and durability. The baler has a small operating footprint, with a wide 60” x 24” opening that allows cardboard to be loaded directly without breaking it down. It’s short cycle time allows for efficient, mill-sized bales to be made every time. Unlike competitor models, the unique strap eject system and front-side ejection provides a safe and convenient way to extract the bales from this cardboard recycling machine.
With so many school supplies arriving from vendors that need to be prepped for distribution to the local teachers via the Resource Center or local schools, its no wonder they had a need for an efficient mill-sized cardboard baler. Since they share a facility with the national foundation, the baler is actually benefiting all of their national programs as well!
When asked about how Harmony’s baler is helping their operations, Ms. Johnson states, “We were very fortunate to have been awarded a $10,000 grant to improve and manage our workplace waste and recycling via BizRecycling, an initiative of Ramsey/Washington County Recycling and Energy. The grant covered the cost of standardized color-coded bins and signage needed to start a recycling program in our facility, as well as provided a budget for purchasing a cardboard baler. As a non-profit, we were so grateful that Harmony was willing to work with us to find us a baler that would meet our needs and yet not exceed our grant funding.
When we got the baler, we put it to use immediately. The day we made our first bale, our whole team was present, and we were jumping and hollering and high-fiving at what a huge game-changer this baler would be for us and our volunteers. Making bales isn’t quite as exciting now that it is a regular occurrence, but the impact our Harmony baler has on our valuable space and time is not lost on us. Thank you so much for your assistance through the initial research, purchasing process, installation and training!
We are only using the baler for cardboard at this time, however, we may explore the option of baling other recyclables in the future! We are averaging about one bale of cardboard every week, which are neatly stacked and stored for pickup.”
Harmony Enterprises is proud to support the work of Kids In Need Minnesota and invite you to become involved in their mission.
Looking To Recycle? Harmony Can Help!
Harmony Enterprises has been helping non-profits all across America achieve their waste handling and recycling goals for decades. Recycling saves on space, reduces employee time spent on waste handling, and helps to improve workplace safety. You can find many similar customer success stories on our blog page of our website.