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Martin donates $10,000 to RUSC through Supervalu

The Supervalu donation donated $10,000 to RUSC Kinship, a mentoring organization, in honor of Paul Martin of Willie's Supervalu. The foundation honored Martin's selection as the Minnesota Grocers Association Grocer of the Year in 2017. From left, Bill Greene of Supervalu, RUSC Kinship director Erin Koehntop, Paul Martin and Max Martin. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

Paul Martin and his family have a history of donating to the region. On Jan. 3, they added to that amount with a $10,000 donation to Raising Up Stevens County Kinship, a mentoring organization based in Morris.

Martin, owner of Willie's Supervalu in Morris..., was able to donate $10,000 through the Supervalu foundation. The foundation honored Martin's selection as the Outstanding Grocer of the Year for 2017 by the Minnesota Grocers Association.

"...because of that, the foundation wanted to reward him," said Bill Greene, the area sales director for the Fargo marketing area of Supervalu. The foundation honored him by asking Martin to select a recipient for a $10,000 donation in his name, Greene said.

"I was really surprised," Martin said of the foundation's action. Martin spent time doing research on area organizations and chose RUSC Kinship.

"I think it's going to a good (recipient), helping young people," Martin said. " All the good work you are doing...I would love to see it continue."

"That's huge," RUSC Kinship's director Erin Koehntop said of $10,000. "That can do a lot for the program."

RUSC board member Jeanne Ennen said the donation can be applied to expanded monthly activities RUSC has for mentors and mentees. The activities provide a time for mentors and mentees to interact which helps mentees connect to more kids and adults in the community, Ennen said. Those monthly activities can be expanded to include more programs such as speakers geared toward mentors and to youth in the community, Ennen said.

"It is a very significant donation and it's very appreciated," Ennen said.

While $10,000 is significant, "The total amount Paul and his family have given to the community is unbelievable," said Ken Wagenman of Supervalu.

Wagenman and Greene said Martin is an example of what makes an independent grocery store successful in a small town. The owners and operators of independent grocery stores want to be involved in their communities and want to give back, Greene said.