GMF commits $400,000 to helping hungry and homeless
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation recently approved an additional $400,000 for its Basic Needs Fund. Supporting organizations including the Faye McBeath Foundation and the Ceres Foundation have each committed $50,000 for the Fund.
“During these tough economic times we know that far too many of our friends and neighbors struggle to make ends meet,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is keeping a spotlight on this continuing concern through our Vital Signs research that tracks kitchen table issues such as foreclosures and food needs.”
According to Gilligan, enrollment in the FoodShare program is at its highest level in 25 years and calls to the 2-1-1 Impact for shelter hotline are at a 31 percent higher level than last November.
“While unemployment remains high, the Foundation and our funding partners know that we must first help meet basic needs such as food and shelter. This support is even more critical as we head into these winter months,” Gilligan said. “The Board felt strongly that it must strengthen its support of the Basic Needs Fund in order to help area agencies address emergency needs.”
The Foundation established the Basic Needs Fund in 2008 in response to the economic downturn to provide supplemental support to organizations providing emergency assistance.
Payless donates boots and shoes to area children
Payless Shoe Store in the Shops of Grand Avenue Mall in Milwaukee will host Snow Boots & Shoes from Santa on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 9 a.m. Forty children in the Milwaukee community will have an opportunity to shop for boots and shoes in the store.
St. Vincent DePaul Society of Milwaukee has provided two $15 gift cards to children who participated in the Vincent Family Resource Center’s Empowering Families of Milwaukee Program.
“We are very pleased to have been chosen as one of 700 non profit groups from the over 3,100 which applied for this grant,” said Lin Fischer, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of Milwaukee. “A new pair of boots or shoes will put a big smile on the faces of these children and the best part is they get to pick them out themselves.”
The Payless Shoes 4 Kids program is an effort to deliver $1.2 million of free shoes to children of families in need this holiday season. This year’s grant provides 200 gift cards, each worth $15 and redeemable at Payless Shoe Stores in the area.
“This has been a very tough year for so many families in the Milwaukee area,” said Mary Greulich, director of development and community relations. “It’s such a blessing to be able to provide for kids who might not have the kind of Christmas they’ve experienced in the past,” said Greulich.
St. Vincent de Paul is one of 11 non profit groups in Wisconsin chosen as a partner in the 2010 Payless Shoes 4 Kids program.
Verizon Foundation honors West Bend organization with $10,000
The Verizon Foundation, the charitable arm of Verizon Wireless, recently provided Friends of Abused Families, a West Bend domestic violence shelter, a $10,000 donation.
The donation will be used to help fund vital client services like rental assistance, purchasing groceries and other in-house necessities for the shelter.
"Business is the lifeblood of a community,” said West Bend Mayor, Kristine Deiss, “We are fortunate that Verizon Wireless is willing to give back.”
Pictured from left to right: Verizon Wireless West Bend Communications Store Manager, Kirstin Albiero, Friends of Abused Families Victim Services Coordinator, Kate Ebert, Melissa Nordstrom of Friends of Abused Families and West Bend Mayor Kristine Deiss.
Santa Claus visited with the kids of Easter Seals
Santa and Mrs. Claus recently visited children at Easter Seals Child Development Center in Milwaukee during its annual holiday breakfast. The annual breakfast provides Easter Seals staff with the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with families and also gives the parents and children participating in the program the opportunity to connect with other families who have children with disabilities.
Over 60 children and their parents enjoyed breakfast, had the opportunity to meet and get their photos taken, with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Each child received gifts from the Volunteer Center’s Holiday Giving Tree Program.
“We are very thankful to groups like the Retirees of Harley-Davidson who partner annually with Easter Seals for the Giving Tree Program,” said Robert Glowacki, chief executive officer of Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin. “Each year they purchase over 50 gifts for the children in our Birth to Three program. Since most of theses families are on Medicaid, these toys might be the only gifts our kids receive this holiday. “
Grief resource center hosts non-holiday party for families
Horizon Home Care & Hospice Grief Resource Center in Brown Deer will host a Grinches’ Gathering to Escape the Holidays, Grief and Sadness party on Thursday, Dec. 23 .
“We really decided to hold this event because the Holidays can really be a painful time of the year for grieving people,” said Kayla Waldschmidt, Horizon’s bereavement coordinator. “It isn’t something that most people readily acknowledge in our society and there is a lot of pressure to be festive and happy and in the holiday spirit this time of year, we wanted to take off some of that pressure for grieving people.”
According to Waldschmidt, the party will feature no holiday themes or decorations and will actually have island music and alcohol-free Pina Coladas and Daiquiris for attendees.
“A lot of grieving people feel very alone during the holidays,” she said. “They feel like they are the only ones struggling. We wanted to provide them with an opportunity to connect with others who are feeling the same way and to not have to talk about the holidays and just know they aren’t alone.”
The party will be held at the Horizon Home Care & Hospice Grief Resource Center, 8449 N. Deerbrook Trail, in Brown Deer from 2 to 5:45 p.m. The event is free and open to anyone.
Curtis Ambulance helps deliver Christmas trees
Jim Baker, president of Curtis Ambulance, and other employees of the company will help deliver Christmas trees to local churches and shelters on Friday, Dec. 17 from 10a.m. to 2 p.m.
Curtis Ambulance has made it an annual tradition to donate freshly cut trees to the organizations and deliver them by ambulance all over the Milwaukee area.
The company will deliver trees to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, St. Ben’s Church & Meal Program, St. Casimir’s Church; St. Josaphat Basilica, and St. Mary’s of Guadalupe.
Happy holidays from BizTimes Media
Because Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Fridays, the next edition of the BizTimes Nonprofit Weekly will be posted on Friday, Jan. 7.
The Nonprofit Weekly e-newsletter is part of BizTimes Media LLC’s commitment to the region’s nonprofit community. If you have any suggestions for types of content you’d like to see more of in 2011, please send suggestions to BizTimes reporter, Alysha Schertz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a safe and happy holiday season from all of us at BizTimes.
Hunger Task Force will fill holiday meal bins for families in need this month, and the organization is asking volunteers to donate holiday hams for the center piece of the meals. Hunger Task Force will fill the bins with 28 items including ham, fresh potatoes, hot cocoa, fruits and vegetables. The number of hams that are donated will be counted on the HungerTask Force signboard near Hwy 94.
“People in Milwaukee love a good celebration and there is so much to celebrate this time of year. Counting the number of neighbors who lend a helping ham on our I-94 signboard adds a special feeling to everyone’s holiday spirit, both those doing the giving and those doing the receiving,” said Sherrie Tussler, executive director.
Last month, more than 2,000 turkeys were donated for the Thanksgiving bins. Hams can be donated online for $15 at hungertaskforce.org or they can be dropped off in person at the Hunger Task Force office, 201 S. Hawley Court.
Good Harvest helps provide food for families in need
Good Harvest Market in Pewaukee recently announced a promotion to match its customers’ $10 donations to the Waukesha County Food Pantry with $20 of food from now until the end of the year.
"Holiday times and cold weather can be especially trying times for families who are having financial difficulties, and we hope that our gesture of doubling customer donations will spur on other food stores in the area to do the same," said Jody Nolan, store owner. "Good Harvest has wonderful customers, and we’re excited to work with them to donate food to local residents less fortunate than themselves".
Good Harvest Market has donated to the Waukesha Food Pantry since the store opened 6 years ago.