Many thanks to everyone who attended our first quarterly volunteer meeting of 2023! Here’s a brief recap…


Care Partner’s Care Coordinator Betsy Blume gave us an overview of our Care Coordination and Caregiver Support services. Our Care Coordinators meet with clients to help them understand their choices, create plans for getting needed support, and connect with local and regional resources. They assist caregivers with assessing their own needs and developing crucial self-care strategies. And, our Care Coordinators work to connect Companion volunteers and clients.

The new after-hours phone number for Executive Director Julie Wilson is 218-519-0420. Volunteers who were at the meeting received a business card with this number on it, to keep handy in a pocket, purse, or glove box. Let me know if you’d like me to send one to you, and I’d be glad to do so. PLEASE call this number if something urgent comes up and you need to speak with someone outside of our office hours (10am to 3pm.) The number is also included in our voicemail messages.

Care Partners Volunteer Business Cards may also come in handy. Senior rides volunteers have especially appreciated having them so they don’t have to keep writing their name and phone number down for clients. I’d be glad to send some volunteer business cards your way – click here to order them (or other supplies!)

According to the MN Department of Revenue, non-profit organizations are required to send a form 1099-MISC to any volunteer who is reimbursed more than 14 cents per mile AND who is paid more than $600 during a calendar year (several of our volunteers fall into this category.) Julie recently became aware of this requirement through her work with the Volunteer Driver Coalition, a group of Minnesota nonprofits that are working together to strengthen volunteer driver programs. The Coalition is currently advocating for an increase in the federal volunteer reimbursement rate (currently set at 14 cents per mile) to match the rate set by the IRS for business mileage (currently set at 65.5 cents.) This would help remove several significant barriers to recruiting and retaining volunteer drivers! Here is a Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement Fact Sheet from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. You can also click here to visit the Volunteer Driver Coalition website and download their Call to Action handout.

A reminder to please complete a volunteer service report, even if you do not want to be reimbursed for mileage. The information you provide (including the number of miles you drive and the number of hours you spend providing a service) is crucial for the reports we are required to submit to our funders. A question was also asked at the meeting about why we ask Senior Rides volunteers to report the number of miles they drove WITH a client and the number of miles they drove WITHOUT the client. The answer is that we reimburse our volunteer drivers for the TOTAL number of miles they drive. However, we invite our clients to make a cost share donation based on their household income and the number of miles they were driven (not including the miles it took for the volunteer to get to them.) Our federal funders require us to invite our clients to share in the cost of providing services, and we feel that a “cost share” is a fair and logical way to do so. Please remember that we DO NOT CHARGE for our services – the cost share is a suggested donation amount only! We trust our clients to contribute as they are able, based on their own situations.

Online volunteer service reports can be made by going to our website and clicking on the green “Report a Volunteer Service” button located at the bottom of the page. Let me know if you have any problems accessing this form. Paper service reports can be downloaded from the Volunteer Portal – look toward the bottom of the page.

Check the “News” section of the Care Partners website for info about our upcoming Lunch & Learn classes that take place from noon to 1pm on the fourth Wednesday of each month at Cook County Higher Education (or you can attend online via Zoom.) Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, the first 20 people who register for the in-person February 22nd Lunch & Learn will be treated to a free lunch! There are still a few more spots for the free lunch as of today (February 10!) Click here for more info about the February class or to register online!


A HUGE thank you to Care Partners Board member and talented potter Kathy Reeves who provided lovely pottery pieces for our volunteer meeting door prizes! Other fabulous prizes included a gift certificate to Drury Lane bookstore and a cozy winter activity/snack kit. PLUS everyone who attended received a delicious Care Partners logo sugar cookie baked by Jennifer Nosker of Superior Cookie Co.

Thanks also to The Hub/Grand Marais Senior Center for hosting our volunteer meeting! Several volunteers and staff enjoyed a yummy senior dining lunch before the meeting – lasagna rollups, garlic bread, salad, and strawberry cobbler. Check out The Hub’s new website – to learn about the many wonderful events and yummy lunches they’ve got coming up! I’m especially looking forward to their February 25th “Love the Hub” Community Breakfast, Open House, and Fundraiser event – pancakes, sausage, fruit, juice and the Hub’s wonderful coffee for a suggested donation of $3, $5, or $7 depending on how many pancakes and sausages you plan to eat! (More info on their website.)

We welcomed a brand new Senior Rides volunteer, Janet Kampa! Since the meeting, Senior Driver Patsy Ingebrigtsen has also joined the Care Partners team! YAY!!!!! We would still benefit from a few more volunteer drivers, especially those who can provide rides to Duluth (we’ve had to turn down a couple ride requests this week because none of our amazing current drivers was available.)

As always, thank you for being THE BEST VOLUNTEERS EVER!!!! Feel free to call or email if you have any questions or concerns, or if there is any way that we can support you in the wonderful work you do!

–Christie John, Program & Volunteer Coordinator