WeCAN to hold May open house

WeCAN is expanding. To share this exciting news, Western Communities Action Network (WeCAN) is hosting an open house on Thursday, May 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. at 5213 and 5217 Shoreline Drive in Mound. Refreshments will be served as you tour the facility, meet the staff and learn about the expansion plans.

In order to better serve the community, Western Communities Action Network (WeCAN) has leased the vacant space next door to the current office. Renovations to the existing space, plus a partial build-out in the adjoining space will provide increased capacity for programs like the Coat Drive, Ready-to-Learn school supply program and the Adopt-a-Family holiday gift program.

Plans also include enhancing and expanding space for Adult Basic Education classes, offered at WeCAN through Westonka Community Education. Additional office space will be provided for on-site partners like Hennepin County’s WIC (Women, Infant and Children) nutrition program, RELATE mental health counseling, energy assistance and MNSURE assistance through Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin (CAPSH), and Hennepin County. A private meeting room is also planned.

“We are at a point where we have to juggle schedules to provide space for all of our services,” said Executive Director Christie Larson. “Add in monthly free haircuts, along with free budgeting classes, and planned nutrition classes, and some days there is not enough space for everyone who needs an office,” she added.

While a matching grant has already been secured for the expansion project, the extent of the renovation will partially depend on the dollars raised through successful grants and community fundraising efforts.

The tagline, “Because Together, WeCAN,” embodies the organization’s forward-thinking attitude. “We know that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to when our staff, volunteers, donors, clients and the community work together,” said Larson. “WeCAN has made a commitment to continually monitor our organization and the services we provide to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community.”

WeCAN’s comprehensive service facility provides family advocacy services like housing assistance, medical resources and family support programs, as well as food programs like Meals on Wheels, Kids’ Food Program and the WeCAN Mobile Market, which delivers healthy food to families and individuals who have barriers to accessing a traditional food shelf. WeCAN’s employment program, computer lab and access to office equipment help build stability and self-sufficiency.

WeCAN staff members include a full-time Executive Director, along with a Family Advocate, Food Programs Coordinator, Food Programs Manager, Career Initiatives Counselor and Office Manager, all part-time positions. WeCAN is also fortunate to have an AmeriCorps VISTA serving as Volunteer Coordinator. In addition to the staff, WeCAN is supported by over 200 generous volunteers, who are critical to the organization’s success. WeCAN is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors.

“We look forward to sharing the progress of our growing organization,” said Larson. 

For more information on WeCAN, the services they provide or ways you can help, call 952-472-0742 or visit the website at www.wecanmn.org.