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Our Stories Preventing Homelessness, Ending Hunger

One of the best ways for us to explain the importance of MOM's work to End Hunger and Prevent Homelessness in our community is through your stories, in your own words.  Share your Story.

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HyVee Westgate Innovative Donation Program

HyVee Westgate delivered nearly 3,000 lbs. of food to the MOM Distribution Center on Thursday, May 22. In an innovative support campaign, HyVee Westgate created a program where their customers could purchase bags of food that would then be donated to MOM. These inexpensive bags were filled with items from MOM's top ten wish list

NET is full of pretty awesome people

Every year NET launches an employee-powered, extremely creative fundraiser for Middleton Outreach Ministry - NET's Annual Holiday Food Drive Challenge. It is a testament to building fun, comraderie and internal competitive spirit focused on creating good.

Here's a picture of what they accomplished in just one week! 

WTS Paradigm Makes the Holiday Season a Little Brighter

On December 26, WTS Paradigm announced the completion of their annual food drive for Middleton Outreach Ministry. To quote Abigail Smith, the event coordinator, "It was a HUGE success!"

Cousin Subs Grant

The Cousins Subs® Make it Better Foundation awarded a grant to MOM to help end hunger in the community.

Momentum

A local neighborhood book club creates a little momentum to donate blankets, warm clothes and toys during this very frigid winter.

Buy ReMitts!

100% of your purchase will go to MOM. And thank the retailers where they are sold for carrying them and helping end hunger in their community!

ReMitts is a group of grassroots volunteers who sew mittens out of recycled wool sweaters. The mittens are available in local shops and are free for a donation of thirty dollars or more to a local food pantry. Payment can be made by cash or checks made out directly to the food pantry.

Shurfine Food Centers donates Thanksgiving baskets

Thanks to Shurfine Food Centers and employees of Certco Inc., 350 families and 100 low-income and mobility-challenged area residents received a Thanksgiving basket, so they could enjoy a full thanksgiving meal with all of the fixings.  Pictured - Al Ripp, Executive Director of MOM and Stephanie Pederson, Human Resources Coordinator at Surfine Food Centers. 

TDS helps area food pantries

TDS donated $7,000 to area food pantries this fall, including the Middleton Outreach Ministry. On Oct. 25, Matt Ivens (right) of TDS presented the $1,000 donation to Al Ripp of MOM. Ivens presented $1,000 donation checks to food pantries in Monticello, Monona, Waunakee, Madison, Belleville and Verona.

Meridian Group

Each year the employees of Meridian Group, Inc. have an annual conference at  which they hold an auction for charity.  Meridian takes the proceeds from the auction and donates it to charities at various locations throughout the state of Wisconsin.  The auction this year raised over $5,500 all funded by our generous employees who bid on wonderful items donated by local vendors, with a total of $1,100 to Prevent Homelessness and End Hunger through MOM.  Pictured:  Al Ripp, MOM Executive Director;  Diane Sefcik, Vice President, Kishia Peters, Regional Manager and Josh Dilley, Activity Coordinator, all from Meridian Group, Inc.

Opposite-handed Tennis Tourney

Thanks to two local tennis teachers - Lyle Schaefer and his daughter Kalla - and some of their friends and students, area families will have food on their tables and a stable home.  In November, the two organized an "opposite handed" tennis tourney and invited people to learn this new skill while raising money for MOM.  "We thought people would enjoy approaching tennis from a new perspective and wanted to raise funds for MOM - hence, the Tourney!"  Special thanks to  The Tennis Shop for their support!

Thanks Sophie!

Thanks to Sophie Boorstein, nearly $3,000 was donated to help children in need in lieu of gifts for her Bat Mitzvah celebration. We're thankful for her generous gift and are excited that Sophie is on her way to becoming an involved and thoughtful Community member and advocate for those in need. Thanks, Sophie!

Young Philanthropists

These local kids set up a stand to collect for money for MOM at their local neighborhood BBQ. They weren't selling anything - just asking people to make a contribution to help their neighbors in need. They raised $250! Thanks to these amazing young philanthropists! (From L to R - Megan Anderson, Ellie Brenkman, Bella Brenkman, & Brynn Flanigan)

West Middleton Lutheran Church donates almost 12,000 lbs. of food

The West Middleton Lutheran Church's month-long food drive raised more than $2,000 and 380 pounds of food. Miller's Grocery provided a discount on the food purchased. In total, their donation was the equivalent of almost 12,000 pounds of food. 

The church focused their food drive on financial donations. Volunteers designed a display in the entry of the church that illustrated how much more $25 can buy a family in need at Second Harvest versus purchasing them having to go directly to a grocery.

Pictured here are (l-r) Betty Casey, Kim Smythe, Sue Gmur, Al Ripp (MOM Director), Cheri Farha (MOM Distrubtion Center Manager) and Margaret Kraemer

A Heartfelt Thank You

In her own words, Gwen talks about how MOM was able to help her and her family when times were tough. Now graduated, nationally certified  as a Surgical Technologist and working for two Madison area hospitals, she is grateful to be able to give back to the community.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Photographs are the best way to tell a story, according to the old adage and according to current communication strategists. As an image based society, a non-profit needs to show their work visually to the community in order to effectively raise funds.

Thanks to Mike Adler of Restaino & Associates and Jason Weber of Starion Financial, MOM will be able to continue telling their story through photographs taken using a new Canon DSLR camera.

Laurie's Story

Learn about how MOM is preventing homelessness through our new video on youtube called "Laurie's Story".

Tell Us your Story

What's your story?  Has your life been affected by MOM's work in the community?  Did poverty affect your life in a surprising way?  Do you donate to MOM in a unique way or would you be willing to tell us why you make it a priority to give back to your community?

One of the best ways for us to explain the importance of MOM's work to End Hunger and Prevent Homelessness in our community is to hear and share your stories, in your own words.

 

Fun Competition Helps End Hunger

In November 2012, Andrew Fassbender and Rob Hammacher of NET collaborated to create a fun competition to engage employees in the annual food drive for MOM. Four teams of about 20 people were challenged to create the longest line of food with bonus items each day identified from the top 10 list of the Donate Food, End Hunger website page. http://www.momhelps.org/give-help/donate/donate-food/  The top 10 bonus items were added this year to better address items MOM participants needed most.

 

An "Extensive Blessing"

Despite preparing for the future, extended unemployment took a toll on the Gollin family. Out of a job for sometime, David and his wife, DeeDee, weren't sure where to turn. Before long, they received what they call an "extensive blessing" - a referral to MOM from their son's teacher.

Teetering on the edge, the family used MOM's services as they needed to make it through one particularly hard month. The family's strong faith, combined with MOM's assistance and the goodwill of neighbors, got them through a very difficult period.

Community Garden Provides Independence

Many MOM clients have benefited from their involved in the Food Pantry Garden. One successful gardener, Imelda, enjoyed her experience so much that by the end of the 2012 growing season she asked to be included in the garden again in 2013. Last year her garden output was so profuse she no longer needed to obtain fresh produce from the Food Pantry, instead enjoyed the vegetables and fruit of her own labors.

MOM operates a Food Pantry Garden as well as a teaching garden. This garden is managed by volunteers and supported by several businesses throughout the community. The produce from the gardens is enjoyed by the clients who grow the food and is also donated to the Food Pantry.

Historians believe one of the nation's first community garden was established in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1759. Since then researchers have learned a lot about the psychological and socio-economic benefits of community greening projects. Here are a few findings. Note that this list includes helping people take steps toward self-sufficiency, preserving cultural heritage, job training, and providing a place for children to play and grow.

The teaching garden gives customers their own small plot, where they are being taught how to grow fresh food. Customers are able to keep some of the produce for their families and donate some to the Food Pantry. In 2012, the garden grew over 5,000 pounds of food.  See NBC15's video coverage of the program and watch a  slideshow of photos from the garden.

WTS Paradigm Shares the Holiday Spirit

The December 2012 event included an hors d'oeuvre and dessert reception, a holiday store and a Heartland's Theater Live Radio play, complete with live music at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. In its sixth successful year, the Home for the Holidays event raised over $26,000 to help Prevent Homelessness in the community.

"It was great to have a group come out and volunteer at Home for the Holidays this year!" said Abbe Smith Event Coordinator for WTS Paradigm. "Thanks for putting on a great event! We look forward to next year." WTS Paradigm supports the Middleton Outreach Ministry both financially and with volunteers.

WTS Paradigm is a well-respected configuration technology company, committed to research and development in the software industry located in the Middleton Industrial Park.

Through the Preventing Homelessness programs at Middleton Outreach Ministry, Case Managers provide housing counseling and financial mentoring, which helps prevent eviction and assists in maintaining long-term stable housing.  Aid for rent, security deposits, utilities and other critical needs make the difference in a crisis. In 2012, the housing assistance programs alone provided aid to 270 families.

Sometimes a Bus Ride is All It Takes

Last week a client stopped in to request a bus ticket. He had an appointment at a local hospital to discuss an outstanding bill for several thousand dollars. He said it was critical that he was able to get to that appointment  MOM immediately issued him a two ride tickets and wished him good luck.

He returned two days later to say, "Thank you." His meeting went so well that the hospital is planning forgive more than $8,000 in debt. He feels that this was only possible because MOM provided him with the means to get there and make it happen.

He wanted everyone to know that MOM truly does make a difference and wanted to share his story along with his heartfelt gratitude.

Asking for Help Isn't Always Easy

June has always been independent. She never had to ask for help. In her mid 70s, June continues to work part time, despite her poor health. Her income has been dropping, but her expenses have not. Now she is facing eviction from her apartment. With a date set for Eviction Court, she has no choice but to ask for help. 

Eviction Prevention

Tim* is a single father with custody of three children, one of whom is disabled. Due to his own heart issues, Tim works part time, up to the limit of his endurance, to provide for his family. His mother's recent health issues and death required Tim to make multiple trips to Milwaukee, an unexpected expense that left him short on rent. Tim's landlord threatened eviction, but MOM intervened.

Filling the Gap

"I know I should have asked for help sooner, but I really wanted to do it on my own." Nancy was apologetic about asking for financial assistance with her utility bill. A single mother working full time to care for her four children, Nancy is struggling to making ends meet. With a plan in place, MOM is working with Nancy to help her family avert a crisis.

Food Pantry Brings Family Together

For more than 30 years, MOM has worked to end hunger through a variety of progressive programs, including the Food Pantry. But for one family, the Food Pantry has given so much more than just food. For this family, a trip to the Food Pantry means coming home, cooking the food, dining together, and truly enjoying the company of family.

Navigating the Unemployment Claim

When Joan* lost her job due to corporate downsizing, the fear of how to make ends meet was very real. Joan was told by her former employer that she would not qualify for unemployment, but MOM guided her in filing an unemployment claim, just in case. Joan ended up being eligible for three months of benefits-enough to allow her to continue her job search and meet her financial obligations.

New Job, New Life

Despite the fact that she is educated and articulate, this single mother of two young children struggled to find work in this economy. Her unemployment had run out and she worried about what might happen to her kids if she could not find work. MOM referred her to a position that was recently posted.  She called MOM two days later and said she would be starting her new job the following day-back on the road to gainful employment.

A Proactive Approach

When Jim* transitioned from prison, another local agency secured him a two-bedroom apartment in the MOM service area. He applied for social security insurance and is seeking employment, but currently has no income. 

MOM is working with his landlord to find a more affordable alternative and reached out to his case manager to create a comprehensive plan of support that will lower Jim's likelihood of recidivism and homelessness.

The Impossible Choice

Trish*, a mother of three, usually works a well-paying job for the Department of Veteran's Affairs, but has been on unpaid FMLA for the past four weeks because her youngest daughter (age 12) has been in ICU following brain surgery.

Trish is faced with the impossible choice of returning to work so she can support her family, or being available for her child.

MOM is contributing to the family's rent and referred Trish to EA and energy assistance grants. The family also has access to the MOM Food Pantry and Clothing Closet so those areas do not need to compound an already difficult situation. All of these forms of assistance are helping the family stay on its feet until Trish returns to work.

The Right Mom

This single mom has a two-year-old child who was recently diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her daycare provider quit, leaving Mom with no choice but to quit her own job when she couldn't find an affordable and safe place for her son. Now the two of them are facing homelessness. MOM's resources-from the food pantry and clothing closet, to information on subsidized housing, to ongoing encouragement- are helping this family through difficult times.

School Supplies made the Difference

MOM was a big part of Tahkaney's life as she was growing up.  Her mother, single and disabled, budgeted and saved. Even so, she had to rely on MOM when emergencies arose or when cupboards were bare at the end of the month.

Each fall when Tahkaney received school supplies from MOM, she thought about her caring neighbors and community. Their support not only helped her hardworking family, it motivated her to do her best at school.  Tahkaney believes this support helped her achieve her dream. She received a full scholarship to Stanford University, where she will be entering her Sophomore year this fall.  Community support turned this family's fear into hope and plans for a better future.


  In the last 12 months, MOM's assistance prevented 230 families from becoming evicted.

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