When his time of service was completed he returned home.

–Luke 1:23



Dear Friends of Grace Place,

I am not sure that I ever thought about the day that I would write my final annual giving letter. This letter will be different from all the rest. Usually I share highlights and accomplishments from the previous year, but this time I am also going to speak about 30 years.

In 2022, we have had over 1,755 visits to our mission locations. Over the past 30 years approximately 31,720 individuals have been served through our missions and outreach. So far the value of gifts of benevolence given to SE MN families in 2022 is $18,988.  So far this year over 3,000 people visited our thrift stores that provide clothing and household items at very low prices. Over the past 30 years there have been over 60,000 shopping visits to our stores and over 30,000 people donated merchandise. The volunteers put in an average of 800 hours per month which equals 9,600 hours of service per year. Over 30 years the number is 288,000 hours of service! These numbers are phenomenal!

Even though these numbers are huge, and many are served daily, moments like the one I am about to describe really highlight the heart of God and the power of love.  Recently I held my final Morning Music session in Winona.  It was a snowy day and families were slow to arrive that morning, so I just visited with the families as we waited. We affectionately talked about many things including my retirement and how much we will miss being together. Then a sweet boy named Zander said, “Carla, will you help me build a boat with the big blocks?” Since only two families were there, I went with the flow and together we built a boat. Zander and his friend Esther stocked the boat with play food and other essentials. Then I asked, “Who will go in the boat?” Zander said, “You should go in!” I looked at the moms and said, “This sounds like retirement to me!” Equipped with a blanket, my guitar and some picture books, I climbed into the boat. Zander excitedly said, “You are going on an adventure, Carla!” We sang river songs and read books together. Before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye but not without tears and hugs. Hundreds of moments like this are what makes Grace Place a priceless organization that is like family to many.

Thank you for your continued encouragement and support over the years, we couldn’t carry out this essential work without you. Would you please consider a special 30th anniversary donation of $30, $330 or $3030 as Grace Place celebrates its 30th birthday? Any amount will be greatly appreciated.

With gratitude and love,

Carla Burton

Grace Place Founder/Retiring Director