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Generations plans February move to former Grand Prairie Events, fundraising challenge announced

Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson

Generations purchased the Grand Prairie Events building last summer, and the east side of the building has been under construction with a February move-in date.
According to Generations president George Bonnema, the project has been affected by supply-chain delays and other pandemic-related hurdles.
“I don’t know how contractors are building houses,” he said Wednesday.
Cal Den Herder with Den Herder Construction said “We can’t get windows until March, and it’s just a standard window.”
The windows are for the office that will house ACE of Southwest Minnesota, which currently leases space from Generations at the Lincoln Street building. ACE, which stands for advocate, connect and educate, was formerly known as RSVP — retired senior volunteer program.
Generations will also continue to house the Lutheran Social Services senior meal site, as it does at the Lincoln Street location.
It currently prepares more than 150 meals per day, which includes in-person noon dining and hot meals for pickup and delivery in Luverne, Pipestone, Worthington and Adrian.
Twice per week drivers deliver hot meals to Magnolia, Hardwick, Jasper, Beaver Creek and Hills, and those recipients have the option of adding frozen meals to carry over between delivery days.
Priority on the meal program has focused immediate work on expanding the event center’s “food prep” kitchen into a full-scale commercial kitchen.
In the past week, Dan Hamann Construction has been working on the platform for the walk-in cooler and freezer, 10 by 10 feet each.
“We currently have gals in the kitchen working out of 11 freezers,” Bonnema said. “They’ve needed walk-in coolers for a long time.”
Footings were in place Wednesday, and concrete was poured Thursday. “God blessed us with a couple good days, so Dan’s been able to do that,” Bonnema said.
He said the company providing the freezer and cooler encountered supply chain delays, so Generations turned to another company that may be able to access them by February.
That’s the date Generations was supposed to be out of the Lincoln Street building, which was sold with move-out set for Feb. 1, contingent on being able to move into the Grand Prairie Events building.
Matching fund challenge doubles donations
Meanwhile, construction costs are mounting, and fundraising is underway. To add urgency to those efforts, Bonnema said a private philanthropist has offered a $140,000 match if the group can raise $140,000 in donations.
“That would give us $280,000 if we raise $140,000,” Bonnema said. “We need people to understand the value of this.”
In a letter seeking funds, Generations wrote, “This means your gift of $1,000 becomes $2,000. Your gift of $500 becomes $1,000 … Your gift of $25 becomes $50. You get the idea.”
He said some donations have already come in to support the project, but with rising costs of construction materials, the dollars aren’t going as far.
“Costs of the remodel are hard to even estimate seeing how the price of materials changes daily,” Bonnema said.
Space to grow, space to lease for local events
As Generations prepares to move and expand into a new location, Bonnema said new — and younger — seniors are joining the organization and getting more involved.
For example, ACE is hosting a SAIL class (stay active and independent for life), a balance and exercise fitness series that attracted more than 20 participants.
“We need more space for these sorts of activities, and we need to get in the new building,” said Bonnema, who’s also taking the class.
“People can’t believe how much muscle tone they’ve lost over Covid.”
He points out that Generations will continue to host events in the location building but on a more limited basis.
On Feb. 24 a catered meal will serve roughly 330 people for the Sioux Valley Energy annual meeting.
“We want the community to know that we still offer this, and it provides sustainability for Generations,” Bonnema said.
Donate by Jan. 31 for matching challenge
To support the Generations capital fundraising campaign and meet the matching challenge, contact the Luverne Area Community Foundation at 507-220-2424 or email
Or, Bonnema said, contact him directly at 507-227-0682. “And I will kneel down and kiss your feet,” he said about his gratitude on behalf of Generations.

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