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January 19, 2004 // UPDATED 2:37 pm - April 24, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie and Tom Carothers
Sarah McKenzie and Tom Carothers

Library finds fattening way to fill lean budget

In a news release promoting a new cookbook, "Food for Thought," library officials joke that readers won't find a recipe for "Library Budget Crunch."

However, leaders of the cash-strapped Minneapolis Public Library system hope proceeds from the 170-page cookbook can help cushion the blow from a $4.4 million budget reduction for 2004.

Cookbook organizers invited library staff and users to submit recipes for "Food for Thought." All told, the book contains 450 recipes featuring appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes and desserts, among other things. The recipe collection also includes cooking tips, calories counters and a section on napkin-folding techniques.

To fully plug the budget hole, library officials estimate they need to sell 727,273 copies of the $9.50 book.

The cookbook is on sale at the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library bookstore at the interim Central Library site, 250 Marquette Ave., and the Washburn Community Library, 5244 Lyndale Ave. S. in Southwest Minneapolis.

Sales will also be held at several community libraries on the remaining Saturdays this month -- Jan. 24 and 31. For more information, visit the library's Web site at

Loring charity raises funds for Iraqi kids

The Loring Park-based American Refugee Committee International is pressing ahead this winter with its Kid 2 Kid Fun Drive -- a nationwide effort to raise money to help Iraqi school children.

The nonprofit is partnering with the radio station FM-107 on the campaign. The fun drive began after radio host Ian Punnett solicited ideas from listeners on ways to assist troops and their families. One listener suggested a toy drive for Iraqi children, and the ball got rolling.

To date, the campaign has raised $12,000 and helped renovate four Iraqi schools, according to the American Refugee Committee's Web site. Project organizers' goal is assisting 10 schools this year.

Donations have gone toward school supplies and construction materials for new playgrounds.

"We want to remind people that kids are still just kids, no matter what their heritage of circumstances," Punnett said, in a prepared statement. "As adults, we may be on opposite sides of Operation: Iraqi Freedom debate, but we can all do something to help the Iraqi children learn to laugh, play and enjoy being kids if only for a few hours a day."

To make a donation, visit or call 1-866-SOS-IRAQ.

Party with a purpose: group seeks hosts

Clare Housing, a nonprofit organization, is holding its second annual "Friends Dining with Friends" benefit Feb. 7. The event is an assortment of local dinner parties held to raise money for Claire House and Domiano House; two programs providing shelter and care for Twin Citians living with HIV/AIDS.

Clare needs volunteers to host dinner parties. Hosts are encouraged to invite anyone they would like and Claire Housing will provide printed invitations, donation envelopes and thank-you cards. The group will also provide a speaker if the host requests one.

Those interested in hosting a party should contact Sara Leedum of Clare Housing at 651-222-6409.