Hy-Vee store director apologizes for letting Bradlee Dean's ministry fundraise on-site
Dean's ministry has again come under fire for its fundraising tactics.
-- Bradlee Dean must pay attorney fees to Rachel Maddow, Minnesota Independent
-- Bradlee Dean's troupe to Iowa public school: Homosexual lifestyle 'literally kills' gays
-- Bradlee Dean uses "suicide prevention" to raise money for anti-gay ministry
Last weekend, Bradlee Dean's You Can Run But You Cannot Hide troupe was stationed at a Newton, Iowa Hy-Vee, soliciting donations with the permission of store management.
You Can Run But You Cannot Hide representatives told managers the group is "a suicide prevention organization." In practice, of course, the group is more focused on denouncing homosexuality and decrying abortion, but this wasn't the first time You Can Run But You Cannot Hide has used the 'suicide prevention' story to gain permission to fundraise at a business.
Some customers donated to Dean's organization without realizing what their dollars might be supporting. And as has been the case in previously instances, some of them, after doing some research into Dean's organization, later contacted Hy-Vee management to ask why the hell You Can Run But You Cannot Hide was given permission to solicit on store premises. Today, the Newton store director issued a public apology.
Here's what one Newton Hy-Vee customer who was hoodwinked into donating to Dean's organization had to say (courtesy of Andy Kopsa's blog):
I am pissed! I gave them $5 earlier today because they CLAIMED they were taking donations for a ministry geared toward suicide prevention and drug abuse prevention! I marched right down there and caught them leaving and they STILL claimed that none of the money I gave them is to dispense an anti-gay agenda! I got the name of the group (which I should have done FIRST) :You Can Run But You Can't Hide and googled it on my phone while in HyVee. What I found made my blood boil: the group is out of Minnesota and does school assemblies in which they make the girls chant a submissiveness toward their future husband, show videos of aborted fetuses and spread a hateful message about homosexuality. Several schools were misled with the same anti drug/suicide agenda which they only found out to be a lie after the assembly. Expecting a call from the HyVee Mgr who approved their presence tomorrow!
The irony is that employee-owned Hy-Vee is known as one of the most gay-friendly companies in the country. Company-provided spousal benefits are available to gay couples, even in states that don't recognize gay marriage.
Here's what store manager had to say in a statement published today in the Newton Independent:
To the Newton Community:
Some of our customers have expressed concern that an organization called You Can Run But You Cannot Hide was allowed to conduct fundraising at the Newton Hy-Vee. I want to apologize personally and on behalf of Hy-Vee for the presence of this group at our store.
The group presented itself to us as a suicide prevention organization, and group members said they wanted to raise money for the schools for suicide awareness. We now know they weren't completely honest with us regarding the organization's goals and activities - if they had been, we would not have permitted them to use our property for fundraising. My management team and I should have been more diligent in checking out the background of this group before granting permission to solicit at Hy-Vee. I apologize for this oversight, and assure you that we have put procedures in place to prevent such situations in the future.
Hy-Vee strives to create a welcoming environment in which all customers and employees feel respected and appreciated. The inflammatory and divisive agenda and comments made by You Can Run leaders do not reflect the opinions or values of Hy-Vee.
If any of our customers feel they were misled into contributing to this organization, I invite them to contact me personally. To assist in the cause of suicide awareness and prevention, the Newton Hy-Vee is donating $250 to Capstone Behavioral Healthcare of Newton, an organization that provides mental health counseling, treatment and prevention services in our community.
Once again, I am very sorry for any distress this situation has caused.
Dean won't be deterred, though -- You Can Run But You Can't Hide representatives were reportedly up to their familiar fund-raising shenanigans yesterday at a Fareway in Arkeny, Iowa.
As Andy Kopsa writes on her blog, maybe Dean is redoubling his fundraising efforts to help pay down the nearly $25,000 in legal fees he owes Rachel Maddow and the Minnesota Independent?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.