Conger resident spends time and resources giving to those in need 

Published 6:01 am Friday, November 17, 2023

By Ayanna Eckblad

During the Thanksgiving season, people often pause to wonder how they can give their time and resources to those in need. However, for some, this mindset is one that exists year-round.

Kay Rask of Conger has been using her time, talents and resources to give to others in the Minnesota-Iowa area for years. 

Email newsletter signup

A grandmother of four, Rask and her husband owned Hickory Hills campground in Twin Lakes before selling it four years ago. Rask still enjoys camping and visiting her cabin in northern Minnesota. When not spending time outdoors, she can be found volunteering or in her living room or sewing room making things for the community.

Rask’s love of quilting began 15 years ago when she went on a quilting retreat with her sister. Since then, she has made about 40 quilts, many of which she donates to fundraisers and those in need. She continues to go on quilting retreats twice a year, astutely using the time to complete as many projects as she can. 

“If we have all of our fabric cut before we go, sometimes I can get four tops done,” explained Rask. 

When a local church reached out to her asking if she would donate quilts to send overseas, Rask decided to use fabric she had left over from projects for her grandchildren. 

“It’s stuff I had and I thought, ‘You know what, I’m not doing anything, I could do these,’” Rask said as she spread the flannel quilt tops onto her kitchen counter. So far, she is working on completing six of these quilts.

The Loyal Order of Moose 1703 is one of Rask’s favorite places to volunteer and donate to. 

“I did [a quilt] for the Moose last year,” she said. “I appliqued moose onto it … and they sold raffle tickets, and they ended up getting $500 for it.” She is making plans to possibly donate a basket with a quilt and homemade canned goods to the Moose’s next fundraiser.

After a fire in Gordonsville displaced a family with four children, Rask and her friend, Jodie Davis of Etcetera Tanning & Clothing, decided to lend a hand. Rask made each child a fleece blanket and Davis donated two outfits to each child and their parents.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rask and her daughter, a registered nurse, sewed and donated over 1,000 masks for local hospitals. Now that the need for masks is no longer as high, Rask has shifted her focus back to other pursuits. If you’ve been in the maternity ward of a local hospital recently, chances are that you may have seen one of her crocheted baby hats.

“I’ve probably made hundreds of them,” she said. She has donated her hats to hospitals in Albert Lea, Rochester, Austin and Mason City.

“You know, [babies] all need… a little hat in the hospital. And I just keep making them,” she said.

Rask also donates old toys, towels, dishes and other household items that she no longer uses. 

“We try to share. I’m done with it, let somebody else have it … I just like to give.”