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Mitchell Dairy Queen’s showing philanthropic efforts

Dairy Queen might be known for its Blizzards, but the Mitchell location is looking to make another name for itself. The Mitchell Dairy Queen -- located on 1501 W. Havens Ave. -- has taken steps toward helping area clubs and organizations raise money.

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Maggie Reynen, an eight-grader at Mitchell Christian and a member of the MCS volleyball team, wipes a table after a pair of people finished their dinner at Dairy Queen on Thursday evening in Mitchell. Reynen and other members of the MCS volleyball team worked at Dairy Queen as part of the a fundraiser where the restaurant allows volunteers from a local club or organization to come in for three hours for one night, once a month to carry out trays and keep the dining area clean. (Matt Gade/Republic)

Dairy Queen might be known for its Blizzards, but the Mitchell location is looking to make another name for itself.

The Mitchell Dairy Queen - located on 1501 W. Havens Ave. - has taken steps toward helping area clubs and organizations raise money.

The fast food restaurant allows volunteers from a local club or organization to come in for three hours for one night, once a month. Volunteers carry out trays and keep the dining area clean. Then, at the end of the night, Dairy Queen gives the club 10 percent of all the sales made in those three hours.

“We want to make sure people know that Dairy Queen is more than just a place to get a Blizzard and that we are a part of the community,” said Lisa Catellier, the local marketing director for the Mitchell Dairy Queen.

Catellier’s husband manages the store. Together, along with their team, they have boosted the number of fundraisers put on by Dairy Queen in the past two years. In 2014, Catellier said there were only two fundraisers. And now, in 2016, there are 15 scheduled this month alone.

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Catellier attributes this large increase to the restaurant’s parent company called Fourteen Foods. The Minnesota-based company has a mission to “build people and profits, one smile and a story at a time” with 176 Dairy Queen locations across the country.

“They inspire the stores and encourage the stores to do fundraising efforts with different organizations and community service,” Catellier said.

During the 2014 Christmas party, the Catelliers were approached by the CEO. He told the duo he wanted the Mitchell Dairy Queen to win an award for giving away the most money.

So the Catelliers got to work.

By March 2015, Catellier said their team kicked off “hardcore” to partner with local organizations, and it just kept rolling.

Many of the partners are from area churches, including the Harvest Community Church in Mitchell.

Michaela Jones, a youth pastor with the Harvest Community Church, said they began partnering with Dairy Queen for fundraisers in June 2015. A majority of the money raised goes back into the Mitchell community, Jones said.

“For us, it’s a way as a church to pay it forward,” Jones said. “They’re doing this awesome thing for us. It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to serve.”

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The Catelliers have been in Mitchell for more than two years managing the Dairy Queen. Jones said she can see a difference in the fast food joint, especially the impact it has had on the community.

“They’ve done an amazing job,” Jones said. “Growing up in Mitchell, Dairy Queen now is so much busier and more well known. They put it on the map, I feel like. They are so actively involved.”

And that’s what Catellier is happy about. She said years ago, the Mitchell Dairy Queen had a negative image and now, it’s not like that.

Catellier said she always has Christian music playing in the dining area of the store and a daily encouragement is posted both inside the store and in the drive-thru for all to read. The daily encouragement features a bible verse, picked out by Catellier herself. In the two years it has been posted, Catellier said she’s only had one complaint from someone in the drive-thru. Other than that, she has many people thank her for posting the message.

“Somebody has to be the light and share it with the world. Why not us?” Catellier said.

Before they started posting the verses, the Catelliers asked the CEO if it would be OK. She said he supported it immediately.

Jones loves taking her kids there, especially with the Christian music playing. But her favorite part is bringing everyone together for fundraising.

“What I really like is that we have our senior adults, middle-age, teens, children and we’re all working together as a church family …” Jones said. “That’s the fun thing, is all of us working together.”

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Even though the Mitchell Dairy Queen has not won any awards for the large amount of fundraisers, Catellier doesn’t mind. She’s glad people are continuing to come and fundraise.

“We take care of everybody the best we can with a smile in our hearts,” Catellier said.

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