The Village is a community space where girl scouts and boy scouts meet, where dancers do their classes, and where birthdays, weddings and anniversaries are celebrated. It’s a community center that solely runs on donations, which happens to provide food for families. For Twin City lender Carrie Guarrero and her husband, Dan, the decision to manage The Village was easy, but introducing its mission to a community they just moved into was a little harder.
It Just Happened
Just over three years ago, Carrie and her husband Dan closed on their new home they were remodeling in Waterville, MN (Building a Dream Home Without Starting From Scratch is As Simple As a Rehab Loan). During that time, Carrie was chairing a local race and was required to attend a Waterville council meeting for a road closure related to the race. In the course of that meeting, it was announced that the Good Samaritan Nursing Home building was up for donation to any non-profit organization. Dan was serving as an Executive Pastor of a Burnsville, MN church at the time and had planned to simply commute, but Carrie shared with him the news about the Good Samaritan building thinking the conference may have interest. That set in motion the application process to receive the building on donation. Initially, they got a no and that made sense to them since they did not even live in the area yet, let alone have an active ministry. Fast forward several months, Dan resigned from his job and within 24 hours of doing that, he got an email from Good Samaritan saying that the other folks had taken a pass on the building and if Dan still wanted it, the building was his. That’s how the journey of The Village started.
Let the Community Decide
Carrie and Dan settled in the idea that they were brand new in the Waterville community, let alone brand new in the undertaking of leading a ministry. Being unfamiliar with the community’s needs, they prayed about it and opened the doors and let the community decide what it is they want to use the building for. They had a town hall style meeting, met up with the community and asked everyone’s opinion. It was a mix of skepticism and gratitude that eventually voiced out the need for a place where boy scouts and girl scouts can come to meet, a place where people can hold dance classes, a place for birthday and anniversary parties—which eventually turned out to be the place for all of these community activities.
You can do all these events on donation-based fees so there’s no set heavy fees that go with using the space. It’s perfect for any event or occasion without taking a toll on one’s budget. The Village has hosted birthday parties, anniversaries, and even weddings.
Listen to Carrie talk about The Village on the Edina-SW Minneapolis Advice Givers (r) Podcast!
Food Distribution – It Just Happened, Too!
Over time, The Village also began to function as a food distribution. Similar to how The Village started, the food drive just happened. It began when a sister ministry had excess bread and asked Dan if he wanted to take the overflow. He put the bread out on a bread rack outside The Village – some took the bread while some took photos. There was a time when cases of food came in without knowing where the food was coming from. The food sources continued to multiply and The Village now schedules a food distribution that feeds around 100 families per month.
The Village is now in operation for three years and currently accepts free will donations and provides food distribution with no questions asked. Listen to the rest of the podcast to learn more about donating and volunteering at The Village.