Bees help Minnesotans with disabilities - KCTV5

Bees help Minnesotans with disabilities

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MSS clients help with all aspects of beekeeping, even painting the hives. (Source: WCCO/CBS) MSS clients help with all aspects of beekeeping, even painting the hives. (Source: WCCO/CBS)
MSS began the beekeeping program in 2013 with help from the University of Minnesota. (Source: WCCO/CBS) MSS began the beekeeping program in 2013 with help from the University of Minnesota. (Source: WCCO/CBS)
By the end of the season MSS could have more than 100,000 bees. (Source: WCCO/CBS) By the end of the season MSS could have more than 100,000 bees. (Source: WCCO/CBS)

(WCCO/CBS) – Honey bees are helping change the lives of some Minnesotans living with disabilities. A year ago, Midwest Special Services in Shoreview started a bee-keeping program for its clients and the difference it's making in their lives is sweet.

The beauty of busy buzzing bees is that their work creates plenty of work for clients at Midwest Special Services in Shoreview.

"We have people who paint the hives," Midwest Special Services program director Kim Alexander said. "We have people who are actually suited up coming out and doing the bee keeping."

Midwest Special Services began keeping bees in 2013 with help from the University of Minnesota.

"It requires strength, some fine motor; it requires patience."

Starting with about 10,000 bees per hive, by the end of the season they could have more than 100,000.

Just the thought of all those bees is unnerving, but according to Alexander that's the point.

"There is something very thrilling about doing this that after you're done you're like ‘yes, we did it.'" Alexander said. "You've done something you didn't think you could do, but also you've done something that others didn't think you can do."

Alexander says the clients do feel more empowered and confident.

Her hope is that this program will evolve into something even more rewarding.

"In the absence of jobs coming to us we also think about how do we create jobs for people?" Alexander said. "We hope this year will be our first year of honey, so we are going to have people doing labels for our bottles of honey, helping in the bottling process, and ultimately hopefully selling it."

Midwest Special Services hopes to sell honey at local farmers markets

They also need help making the bees more accessible to all of their clients. If you would like to make a donation to Midwest Special Services go to wcco.com/links.

Copyright 2014 WCCO via CBS. All rights reserved.

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