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Minnie Benson recognized for long-time dedication to local food shelf

On Thursday, Dec. 12, Minnie Benson (front, second from left) was presented with the Pay It Forward Stevens County award. Benson and her late husband, Dwain, were long-time volunteers at the Stevens County Food Shelf. 2 / 2

MORRIS – Food shelf volunteers and friends gathered on Thursday to recognize Minnie Benson who, along with her late husband, Dwain, was instrumental in keeping the Stevens County Food Shelf running.

Benson is the most recent Stevens County resident recognized by “Pay it Forward, Stevens County.”

The Bensons worked with the food shelf for about 25 years, beginning in 1984 after Minnie retired from working at the hospital.

“I decided to do some volunteering, so I thought about it and went down to the food shelf, which was by the theater arcade building … I said, ‘I’d like to volunteer’ and [organizer] Gert Hoffman said, ‘I’ve never had that happen to me in my life!” Minnie recalled.

When Hoffman passed away, the Bensons worked together to get the food shelf reopened.

“Between the two of us we kept plugging away,” said Minni. “The county commissioners came over and said ‘Buy what you need; don’t worry about it, just buy it!’”

The food shelf had to move several times within the same building because rooms continued to get rented out. Eventually bookkeeper Bea Nelson decided to look for a new space and wrote a grant to help pay for a new building, Minnie said.

Through all of the changes, Minnie and Dwain helped recruit and train volunteers for the food shelf, as well as sharing their own time.

Minnie continues to volunteer at the gift shop at Stevens Community Medical Center. Dwaine passed away in June.

Pay it Forward, Stevens County is a program designed to reward individuals who make life better for other people in our community.

Pay it Forward, Stevens County is sponsored by Morris Pizza Ranch, Morris Sun Tribune, Bank of the West, West Central Screen and Print, the Regional Fitness Center, Superior Industries.Westmor  and Hancock Concrete, Stevens Community Medical Center and KMRS/KKOK Radio Stations.

Nominations can be dropped off at any of the participating businesses. The committee will meet once per month to pick one person who best exemplifies paying it forward.