As coronavirus cases continue to impact residents of Marathon County, more of our neighbors will be turning to The Neighbors’ Place during the holidays – many of them for the first time. During a season that is traditionally filled with festive gatherings and holiday meals, many people will not be able to afford food for themselves or their families.
The Neighbors’ Place is working to ensure that everyone has food during this unprecedented time of need - through the holidays and beyond. Here’s what you should know:
As the holidays arrive, The Neighbors’ Place is responding to significantly increased demand
Right now, The Neighbors’ Place is serving more people than we were at the same time last year. And in many cases, neighbors in need are visiting us for the first time. So many people who have never wondered whether they could afford a holiday meal are realizing that this year will be different. On top of the stress the pandemic has caused, many of our neighbors are also facing hunger.
The Neighbors’ Place has been – and will continue to be – there for our neighbors through the holidays
As more people seek food assistance, The Neighbors’ Place is rising to meet the demand. Since March, we have distributed a record volume of food to those in need throughout Marathon County. Our operations have shifted to meet the rise in demand by utilizing a drive-thru food pantry and incorporating deliveries to families in quarantine and those without access to transportation. In addition, we have participated in mass food box distributions with the help of the USDA’s Farm to Family Food Box program.
There is a critical need for volunteers
During the pandemic, amazing volunteers across the Wausau area have been giving of their time to ensure our neighbors facing hunger have food. Now, volunteers are needed more than ever. We are accepting applications and in need of volunteer support! We have plenty of opportunities to answer the call as a volunteer this holiday and into 2021.
Recently, we received a letter from a couple who used to donate to The Neighbors’ Place. Unfortunately, this couple was not able to give this year but wanted to express their appreciation for the food they’ve received from us. The letter was heartfelt but also sobering and a reminder of why our mission is so very important, now more than ever.
We will get through this together, one day, one home delivery, one box or bag of groceries at a time. We are, after all, People Helping People!
In sincere gratitude,
Due to continued concern regarding Covid-19, we will be continuing our curbside food delivery system for the foreseeable future. If you are in need of food during this challenging time, here are a few of the procedures you need to be aware of:
1) Patrons form a waiting line up on North St. Paul Street (1 block west of The Neighbors Place) and then move onto Scott St.
2) When it is your turn, pull into the available stall, turn off your car, and wait for our staff to help you.
3) When you are directed to pick up your groceries, please wear a mask and use hand sanitizer as you pick up your food.
This procedure is explained in detail on our website!
Did you know that you can pick up food on someone's behalf? You can! Just tell us who you are picking up for, and we will get you some assistance.
As outdoor distribution continues, so does our need for the amazing volunteers who make it possible to serve so many of our neighbors in need. Our volunteers worked extra hard putting together and distributing holiday boxes at the end of November. This incredible team served 756 families in the 7 days of food distribution leading up to Thanksgiving. They are currently hard at work assembling and distributing holiday cookie baking boxes this week and next, and we expect numbers to continue to be high. We are truly blessed to have so many dedicated individuals who give of their time and talent. Thank you for all that you do! We do continue to have opportunities to volunteer in person. Anyone who is interested can apply on our website or email Bettina@neighborsplace.org.
he Neighbors' Place has been busy revamping our current food pantry so we can move to a new model called Safe & Healthy. This will have a positive impact on our guest and volunteer experience when we reopen!
Because of funding through the federal government (The Cares Act), we have been able to add an additional walk-in refrigerator and freezer, contributing to improved storage capacity. We have so many groups to thank for making the holidays brighter:
We're so glad to provide these valuable resources to our community members in need, and we can continue to provide these free services because of your support. Thank you for your continued belief in our mission - people helping people!
The effects of Covid-19 have been felt by all sectors of the community – from local businesses to nonprofits and everywhere in between.
With the community's safety in mind, Empty Bowls was held as a community-wide event November 8th-21st and was presented by Bridge Community Health Clinic. Bowl sales took place at local area businesses with bowls from the CVA, Clay Corner Studio and Clay House generously provided by our community partners! Profits from soup sales at select local restaurants were also split with our organization! Together, we were able to raise over $40,000 for the programs of The Neighbors' Place - thank you! We hope that this new take on Empty Bowls provided our community with a new way to engage with an old event. Empty Bowls is part soup, part art, and all heart and we think we stayed true to that spirt this year!
WSAW Neswchannel 7 understands the need for assistance has only grown during the pandemic, and that their annual Share Your Holidays fundraiser is more important than ever. The event is slightly different this year, but they're still hoping to harness the generosity of the community to make a donation to The Neighbors' Place and The Salvation Army. Experts say every dollar donated to a food pantry can buy three or even four meals.
Thanks to some local foundations and one family, WSAW has $90,000 in matching dollars. That means every dollar you give is doubled! That’s possible because of grants from The BA and Esther Greenheck Foundation, the MacDonald Foundation, the Miller-Halverson Family, Judd S. Alexander Foundation, the Dudley Foundation and IncredibleBank.
The Family radio station's annual "Help for the Homeless" hygiene Drive is coming up in February! This is a state-wide event, taking place over various communities simultaneously. In all 15 participating communities, $435,000 worth of supplies were donated, stocking the shelves of 89 crisis agencies. Agency staff and volunteers collected, counted, and squirreled the donations away in mid-March 2020, just days before COVID-19 restrictions took place.
This event will take place again this year, knowing that there is always a need for hygiene supplies at local agencies! If you would like to learn how your church, employer or other group can get involved by collecting hygiene items, send us an email asking for more information!
The Ice Tee Classic took place during Winterfest 2020 as an indoor mini golf course in the Wausau Center Mall, and we had so much fun golfing with you all last year!
Unfortunately, The Neighbors' Place has decided to forego the annual event this year due to concerns about safety surrounding Covid-19. The Neighbors' Place is doing everything we can to maintain a safe and healthy work environment at our food program and that same mindset applies to our events. We hope to return to a sense of normalcy in the coming months, and are looking forward to the possibility of safely hosting our next upcoming event, Par-Tee for Our Neighbors!
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