Cloquet's B&B Market paying it forward with community donation train

Updated: March 27, 2020 08:27 PM

Giving back to others is a powerful act of kindness that we’re seeing more and more during these challenging times.


A ripple effect is happening at Cloquet's B&B Market. A charitable effort known as a 'community donation train' is helping people in need thanks to generous donations from community members.

It was started by one person who wanted to help people in the area with a food donation and has led to more and more people paying it forward.

"Lenny Conklin from the State Farm Insurance Agency here called me and said he wanted to get together and wanted to start a food train," said John Lind, the owner of B&B Market.

"We wanted to be as impactful as we could and I've known John and his wife Kim for a long time. I just said hey, I'd like to donate 100 pounds of hamburger meat and we could start with that," said Lenny Conklin, the man who started the donation train. "I said if you want to put it out there that we did this hopefully other people will jump on board with it."

That started a domino effect with local businesses and community members hopping on the donation train after seeing Lind post a video about the donation on Facebook.

"It just kind of blew up overnight. We've just had people calling in doing donations over the phone and it's just amazing. I never thought it would be this big the way it's gone right now," said Lind.

Ryan Lindstrom, the owner and manager of Carmen's Bar & Restaurant in Cloquet,  is a regular customer of the market. When he found out about the donation effort, he didn't hesitate to jump on board.

"My brother and I thought we'd try to give back where we could. It's kind of a crazy time in the world right now so we are just trying to help anyone that needs help getting basic necessities," said Lindstrom. "We put up $200 towards ground beef. I think John started giving eggs and milk to more people that needed that type of stuff because of the overwhelming supply of ground beef."

Lindstrom said it was important to him to help his community during these challenging times people are facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's crazy to show how a little community can come together and be supportive for everyone. Cloquet isn’t thought of as a very big town but in a time of need, it seems like we all kind of come together and look out for each other and take care of each other," said Lindstrom.

Thousands of dollars have been donated to the community train effort. It has helped in buying gift certificates to hand out to families and has covered food expenses for customers and businesses in need.

"We are picking up nonperishable food items at B&B for our clients in the community at Human Development Center(HDC). All of our clients have serious mental health diagnosis and they live in their homes. A lot of them don't have access to grocery stores or transportation," said Nicole Adolfs, a nurse for the HDC facility in Carlton County.

The amazing effort helped expense nearly $250 worth of groceries for HDC.

"It's really nice to be in a community who has come together to support everybody in need right now. I had seen this on the internet that they were doing this so I called Kim to see if I can come down and she said to come get what we need and that they would take it off of our total," said Adolfs.

Lind hopes to continue helping more and more people with the community donation train and is taken back by the generous contributions that started with one person's act of kindness.

"There's a lot of great people out there in Minnesota and around the world. I think in this time right now there's a lot of people just stepping up to the plate," said Lind.

"Cloquet is great to my family. We've had some other challenges that Cloquet has been amazing with us so we're just trying to give back. We're all in this together and that's what I told John that we all have to look out for each other," said Conklin.

If you want to donate, you can call the B&B Market at 218-879-3555. You can also go to the market to donate. The address is 506 Big Lake Rd, Cloquet, MN 55720.

Hours are Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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