BSM senior is presented with the Dear Neighbor Award

The first ever student to receive the Dear Neighbor Grant, senior Peri Warren plans to open a discount grocery store in North Minneapolis to promote good health in the community.


photo courtesy of angela hickman

Senior Peri Warren formally received the Dear Neighbor Award at Christmas Mass, and addressed the BSM community with a speech on her plans for the grant money.

The Dear Neighbor Award, given to senior Peri Warren, is a newly funded service award for BSM students. “It helps students articulate what they are passionate about and on some level begin to decide on how they want to show up in the world,” BSM President Dr. Kevin Gyolai said.
The recipient of this award receives a grant from an anonymous donor to go out into the world and start solving issues they are interested in now.

The award was created in recognition of the Sisters of St. Joseph, one of our founding religious orders. The Sister’s work and mission, “moving always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction,” provides inspiration to the service learning culture at BSM. Like the Sisters, the grantee is expected to use the award to serve others and meet their needs.

Gyolai was informed about the grant only a few months ago, so he and his fellow staff moved quickly to find an appropriate recipient.

Due to Service Learning Coordinator Ms. Lisa Lenhart-Murphy’s work with RKVC and the volunteer community at BSM, Gyolai was able to go to her for advice on who would make the most of the grant money. “We had a really tight timeline to choose and start planning with the donor. We didn’t want to rush anything, but we wanted to have a solid plan with the donor to announce at the Christmas Mass,” Gyolai said.

Gyolai and Lenhart-Murphy together decided Warren was a great candidate for this award. She has decided to use the money to help create a nonprofit jumpstart grocery store for people in the North Minneapolis community that will benefit greatly from this.

“Ms. Lenhart-Murphy and I came to the conclusion that Peri Warren is just super passionate about helping others who deserve help within our community and is a good candidate to use as an example to other students,” Gyolai said.

After Peri was selected, she began see her plan unfold. “The pop-up grocery store I am forming in North Minneapolis will happen twice a month, May through July. The first step is to develop a board of people who are also passionate about the issue. The board will consist of people that also have a role in the community, nutritionists and dietitians, and also some people from the BSM community,” Warren said.

The non-profit organization will be called Busy Bee Foods. They’ve taken up the slogan “see what’s buzzing your community.” This sums up Warren’s wishes to impact and change the community of North Minneapolis. Warren hopes for the store to have available fresh and healthy foods at a discounted price.

Warren also hopes to keep the community of BSM involved. There will be many opportunities for BSM students to volunteer at Busy Bee Foods helping to manage, organize, and sell items at the store.

In relation to the grant, Gyolai references a scripture passage from the Bible in which a travelling master gives money to his servants and sees how those servants use the money. “We are like servants in the story, but we are servants of God, and I am excited to see this money be used to benefit the Kingdom of God,” Gyolai said.