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Blackduck Area Toys for Kids Named Beltrami Electric's Touchstone Energy® Community Award Winner

Bemidji, Minn. -­‐ Beltrami Electric Cooperative has named Blackduck Area Toys for Kids the winner of the local 2013 Touchstone Energy® Community Award from a great pool of worthy nominations. The recognition comes with a $500 cash award donated to a community service organization/project of their choice and an engraved Touchstone Energy® Community Award plaque signifying the organization's commitment to community.

For the last 15 years, Blackduck Area Toys for Kids has collected and purchased holiday gifts for kids and families that live in the Blackduck area and/or attend Blackduck School, all who struggle financially. Led by Wanda Anderson and Mary Joy, volunteers help purchase, collect and wrap gifts before donating them to those in need. Each year, they serve approximately 67 families and 177 children, from birth to age 18. The group also helps provide food and clothing. These families have expressed their appreciation for the project and without it many would not have a happy holiday season.

In its 10th year, the Touchstone Energy® Community Award recognizes individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to their community. Past winners include Bemidji Area Take a Kid Fishing, Kelliher Resource Center Committee, Bemidji Skate & Bike Association, Bemidji Garden Club (formerly Northwoods Garden Club of the Bemidji Area), Paul Bunyan Broadcasting's "Radiothon to End Child Abuse," Healthy Community Healthy Kids, Blackduck Tri Sigma General Federated Women's Club, Sexual Assault Program of the Beltrami, Cass and Hubbard Counties, and the Bemidji Area Task Force on Underage Drinking, Illegal Drug Use and Gang Activity.

Blackduck Area Toys for Kids' application will be submitted for consideration to the statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy® Community Award committee. The statewide award recipient will be selected from numerous local award winners throughout Minnesota and the overall winner will receive $1,000 toward a community cause of choice. It will be presented in February 2014 during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association's annual meeting in St. Paul. Last year, Bemidji Area Take a Kid Fishing received this additional honor, which was the first time for a Beltrami Electric nominated organization.

Beltrami Electric Cooperative is a member-­‐owned electric distribution cooperative located in Bemidji, Minn. Established in 1940, Beltrami Electric provides power to approximately 17,000 member-­‐owners within a 3,000 square mile service area located in the lakes region of north-­‐ central Minnesota.


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