About Us

The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes is a compassionate humanitarian organization dedicated to feeding families and enriching lives.


Located in Nisswa, 80-90% of the meals we package will be distributed right here in Minnesota. We provide 10 different nutrient dense meals for only $.30 each.

All around us we see that hunger can affect people from all walks of life. Many households are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from hunger. Together we can end hunger…one meal at a time.

    Our History

    John Poston founded Kids Against Hunger Brainerd Lakes in 2012.  John was volunteering with Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge (MNTC), driving van loads of MNTC participants from Brainerd, MN to Coon Rapids, MN to serve at Feed My Starving Children.  After several road trips, John had a vision to create something similar in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

    The mission of Kids Against Hunger Brainerd Lakes was to feed children in third world countries that were starving.  We offered 1 meal type that was a rice/veggie mix.  As the charity grew, we started to realize that not only did people have food insecurity across the sea, it was also a problem right here at home.

    In 2019, the charity re-branded to The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes. The mission and vision changed with the re-brand.  Our mission today is focused on feeding families and enriching lives.  Our vision is that 80-90% of the meals we package and distribute will remain in Minnesota; with the remaining 10-20% being used for disaster relief and/or international distribution.  We have grown our meal types from 1 to 10 different meals.

    Volunteers with The Outreach Program BLA

    Our Leadership Team


    Shawn Hansen

    Shawn Hansen

    Executive Director

    Shawn is our Executive Director at The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes.  She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in psychology and has spent 15 years in corporate accounting, 9 years in corporate training, and 8 years as the Chamber of Commerce president.  She brought years of experience and knowledge to The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes in 2019.  She has a compassionate drive to feed people, partner with community volunteers, and impact our community for good.  When she is not planning and dreaming of ways to end hunger, she loves to spend time with her three grandchildren.

    Tina Foster Community Coordinator

    Tina Foster

    Community Coordinator

    Tina is our Community Coordinator at The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes.  Tina has been a lifelong learner and from her early years working in her family’s business she has learned many roles, from working with customers in the front office, to accounting, to general production.  She has a passion for making sure no child goes to bed hungry and we see that each time she encourages volunteers, interacts with donors, and communicates our mission with clarity and passion.  When she is not using her gifts to end hunger, she loves to read, cook, garden, and spend time with her kids.

    Board of Directors

    John Poston, Founder and CEO
    3 Cheers Hospitality

    Lori Kohorst
    Party Time Rental

    Brett Laugen
    State Farm Insurance

    Denise Laudenbach
    The Dock Panther

    Jason Martinson
    Edward Jones Nisswa

    Mike Owen
    American National Bank

    Pam Poston
    Salon 77

    Ted Schaefer
    Schaefer’s Foods

    “The Outreach of BLA is an outstanding non-profit organization that provides cost effective nutritional meals to help feed individuals & families that find economic deficiencies in their budgets.

    The easy preparation meals are available to all, not income based or judged by economic structure.  The organization nurtures and forms compassion, stewardship, and future leaders within the “volunteer packaging” process of the meals.

    Informational facts including nutrition, health standards, packaging, distribution, and related costs are shared at each pack to promote awareness of food shortages within our local and surrounding communities. It helps volunteers to embrace a thoughtful process for a basic need for every human. To have nutritional food readily and easily available for all.

    All charitable monetary contributions go far in feeding our local communities first. When opportunities arise there are special opportunities to help nationally and internationally as crises demand and product and contributions support the need.

    This is a stellar opportunity for each of us to share time, talent or treasure for a worthy need within our communities.”

    – Lori Kohorst, Board of Directors
    The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes Packs Meals

    Your generosity is the driving force behind the mission of feeding hungry families in need.