Pine River Backus Family Center lists December offerings


The Pine River-Backus Family Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The center will be closed Dec. 24-Jan. 1 for the holidays.

Following is a schedule of events:

  • Christmas for Kids: Applications for Christmas for Kids are available at Pine River-Backus Family Center. The family center is looking for donations for the Christmas for Kids program. Those wishing to donate may drop off or mail donations to the family center at P.O. Box 1, Pine River, MN 56474. Donation boxes are also available at local businesses for families to donate toys.
  • Pine River Area Food Shelf: The food shelf is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and from 3:30-7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month (Dec. 8). The food shelf will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 24.
  • MNsure Navigator: Call 218-587-4292 if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.
  • Pine River-Backus CommUnity Meals: A local collaborative effort provides a free weekly meal for anyone who is hungry. Meals are served each Monday at the Riverview Church in Pine River or each Tuesday at the Backus Pine Mountaineer Senior Center. Serving time is 5-6 p.m. For more information or to volunteer, call 218-587-4292.
  • Home Visiting Program: This is a free program through the Pine River-Backus Family Center. Home visiting begins prenatally or before children are 3 months old and continues through their 3rd birthday. Weekly home visits are filled with fun activities and information about a child’s development. From charting their first milestones to identifying qualities and characteristics parents want in their child, the family support specialist will help parents pick out what is important and create ways to instill those same values in children. Free gift bags are available to all families who are expecting a baby or have a newborn and live in the Pine River-Backus School District.
  • Working Together Coalition and Opioid Prevention Team: Working Together Coalition and the Opioid Prevention Team are looking for community members to join the fight against the opioid epidemic. They invite interested individuals to visit for more information.
  • NAPS: Drive up pick up will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8.
  • WIC: Call Cass County at 218-547-6872 for an appointment.
  • Child & Teen Check-Up: Child and Teen Check-ups will be Wednesday, Dec. 30. Call Karen at 218-587-4292 if you have any questions.

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Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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