(507) 387-1666
421 East Hickory Street, Mankato, MN 56001
(507) 387-1666
421 East Hickory Street, Mankato, MN 56001

About Us

In the summer of 1994, a small group of people sat around a kitchen table and discussed how to create a safe and effective way for people to help their neighbors. By developing a simple organization, where volunteers who want to help are matched with people who need a helping hand, everyone benefits.

VINE was the first Faith in Action program developed in Minnesota and is now the largest Faith in Action program in the United States. The initial vision of VINE’s founders – to create opportunities for people to be of service to others – has become part of the fabric of life in the Minnesota River Valley.

VINE’s professional staff coordinates volunteers and services that are vital to the well-being of people with long-term health needs and difficult life circumstances. Trained volunteers freely share their time providing rides, assisting with home chores, delivering hot meals on wheels, offering respite to family caregivers and helping in a thousand other ways – both great and small. VINE readily provides services for needy people that businesses for hire often are unwilling to accept. VINE’s goal is to keep people healthy and comfortable and living in their own home for as long as it’s safe and reasonable to do so.

In 2006, VINE acquired Mankato’s 50-year-old senior center after its board of directors made the decision to close due to lack of funding and poor attendance. With a strong emphasis on relevant and helpful programming, a health and wellness focus and evidence-based fitness classes, weekly participation grew from 50 to 525 people in 5 years and the space was soon outgrown. An active search for space that would both expand and consolidate VINE’s program offices, chore facility and the Summit Center was undertaken.

The VINE Adult Community Center (VACC) formally opened in July 2014 and is now home to VINE’s program staff and a licensed Adult Day Program. This 36,000 sq. ft. Adult Community Center facility, repurposed from a former college classroom building, features a cushioned walking track, a fully equipped fitness center, and many spaces to gather and interact with others. In 2016, construction begun on an 18 x 50 ft. warm-water exercise pool and locker rooms with operational expenses to be shared by Mayo Clinic Health System’s physical therapy department.

Answers to Some Commonly Asked Questions

Where does VINE get its funding?

VINE’s operating funds come from a variety of sources. We are supported by local contributions, program and rental income, fundraising events, the Greater Mankato Area United Way, and private grants. Government grants, which cover approximately 45% of our budget, are not guaranteed from year to year. It would not be possible for us to provide the kind of help that we do without the financial support of those who benefit from our services.

How much does it cost to use VINE services?

The chart outlines our basic rates for services. These prices do not fully cover our costs for delivering these services but reflect what we consider to be fair and affordable to many people. It is important to us that anyone who really needs our help receives it, and we will gladly discuss circumstances that present you with a financial barrier. VINE staff can provide you with information about cost sharing options and can help you connect with county public health to learn whether a government waiver program can subsidize the cost of VINE’s services.

With that said, we need to make it clear that it does cost money to operate VINE. Our yearly budget includes staff salaries, insurance, telephone, materials and supplies, postage, mileage reimbursement paid to volunteer drivers, the expenses of our building, and other costs associated with running the organization and managing volunteers.

Basic rates
Chore Services: $25 per hour. Chore recipients will also be billed for all materials purchased, disposal fees, and mileage. Snow removal and lawn care is based on yard size and requires a seasonal contract.
Transportation: 66 cents/mile. For local rides within Mankato and North Mankato and out of town medical trips to Rochester or the Twin Cities.
Public transportation: Available in rural Blue Earth, Le Sueur, and Nicollet Counties. $3 per ride on established routes. Premium rides are available at an additional cost. Call 388-8783 for more information.
Meals on Wheels: $3.50 per meal.
Respite Care (in home): $14 per hour. Services are available for up to three hours per week.
Adult Day Program: $14 per hour with a 4-hour daily minimum. Dietician planned meals and snacks included. Transportation and bathing service available for an additional charge.

So how much should I be contributing if I get help from VINE?

There are no easy answers to this question. How much you contribute, above and beyond our basic rate, depends on several factors. You might ask yourself questions like:

1. How much money do I have left each month after paying my bills, including my medications?

2. Are my adult children able to stay at work because a VINE volunteer provides rides or chore assistance to me? Would they have to use vacation or sick time to take me to my medical appointments? If this is the case, could your son or daughter help cover some of the costs of the help you receive from VINE?

3. Are VINE’s services helping me to remain living in my own home? If so, consider the $50,000 – $75,000 each year that you’d have to pay if you moved into a catered or assisted living facility (rent plus additional services). Base your contributions on how VINE’s services extend the length of your independence. Think about the cost of maintaining a car or using a cab or hiring someone to do a household chore or contracting with an agency to provide in-home respite care.

Can I make a planned gift from my investments or property?

Yes you can. VINE is a 501c3 non-profit organization (federal ID #41-1802861) and contributions are deductible for income tax purposes to the extent allowed by law. We are a member of Leave a Legacy, Mankato Area™. Please contact us if you would like information on how to include VINE in your estate plans. Even if you don’t have a large monthly income, a future planned gift will always be put to good use. Speak with your family or talk to your financial advisor or call Pam Determan, Executive Director, at (507) 387-1666 to discuss how best to make a planned gift, which could have positive financial benefits for both you and VINE.

Should I pay the volunteer?

No. People choose to volunteer at VINE because they want to help people with the things they can no longer do themselves. We provide educational opportunities, reimburse drivers for their mileage costs, and host volunteer recognition events. Feel free to “treat” a favorite volunteer to pie and coffee, a box of candy or a can of pop if you’d like. All volunteers are instructed that they may only accept personal gifts that they can eat. Volunteers cannot accept cash gifts; if you want to give a contribution, please mail it to VINE.

How old do I have to be to get help from VINE?

Serving people age 60+ is a priority to us. However, as resources permit, we assist younger people with disabilities and individuals and families who are encountering difficult life circumstances. VINE’s chore, caregiver support, Caring Connection visiting program and local transportation services receive partial funding from grants and contracts to help older adults remain living independently. VINE works closely with the staff at county human services and several managed care organizations to provide rides for their clients of all ages.

Will VINE still help me if I move into an assisted living facility or nursing home?

No. VINE’s services are intended to help people remain living independently in their own homes and to supplement the help that family and neighborhood caregivers can provide. When a person chooses to move into a facility, new types of caregivers and services become available to them and VINE’s volunteer caregiving role comes to an end.

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