Charitable groups receive gifts through Compass ‘Wish List’

By Patricia Kasten | The Compass | July 30, 2014

GREEN BAY — The middle of the heat of summer might not seem the time to think about Lent and Easter, but the seeds of those seasons of the church have brought new life, thanks to readers of The Compass.

Since 1993, The Compass has run an annual Wish List in which some of the local organizations that help the poor, elderly, sick and disadvantaged around the diocese have been able to share requests to help their ministry. Over these 21 years, 355 group requests have been placed. At least half have been filled — at least in part — each year.

The same is true this year: 80 percent of those groups on the list (March 5) received at least part of what they requested. Two other groups received some of what they asked for, but weren’t able to confirm that those donations had come from Compass readers.

At one, St. Vincent de Paul House of Hope in Green Bay, a staff member expressed the Wish List’s purpose well: “It’s wonderful exposure and we really appreciate it,” said Chris Varela.

Another group, Elizabeth Ministry International of Kaukauna, provides help on issues related to childbearing, sexuality and relationships. It has more than 700 chapters on six continents and asked for funds to offer scholarships to those who cannot afford to participate in programs. Co-founder Jeannie Hannemann said they received scholarship donations “without them telling us where they heard about us, so I am assuming it was from you. Thanks!”

St. John the Evangelist Shelter in Green Bay, provides overnight shelter from November through April. They did receive two financial donations toward a commercial keyless entry system from Wish List readers, as well as hand warmers they asked for, but they were not sure if those came from Compass readers.

On the other hand, the pastoral services department at Langlade Hospital in Antigo did receive the crucifixes they asked for to give to the dying. They also received two CD players — along with music CDs — to start a ministry with their Alzheimer patients. Finally, a used wheelchair was donated.

“People are so generous, when they read about it,” said Sr. Adele Demulling, RHSJ, of pastoral care. “One person who brought in things, she was so glad to be able to do it. It gave her a lot of joy and happiness to give this and know it would be used for the purpose it was needed.”

The Bridge-Between Retreat Center in rural Denmark asked for plumbing for the upper rooms in its 1924 silo. According to Dominican Sr. Caroline Sullivan, they did get help with that.

“Sometimes you ask and you get something else,” she added, noting that they received an ATV that they had asked for several years ago in the Wish List. “In so many ways, we got lots and lots of the things we asked for.”

Love Life, an ecumenical ministry in Green Bay, provides baby needs to low-income families. Co-coordinator Sharon Zambrowicz said, “At first, I didn’t think we got anything. But someone I know saw it in The Compass and brought us some formula. … We probably have gotten other things and people didn’t mention they saw it in The Compass.”

Another ministry to teen mothers in Green, Bay, Marion House, had an urgent need for a new security system. A few days after the Wish List appeared, Marion House called to say they had received a donation for the entire system. Pat Vande Vort called again in April with news that they had received a second donation.

(On June 30, due to federal funding cuts, Marion House closed. Its assets have been turned over to Freedom House, which will use Marion House’s apartment building for transitional housing for families. Use of the group home is still being studied. Since the security system was not yet in place, the donors will be asked how they would like the funds to be utilized, according to Mary Deckert, spokesperson for Freedom House.)

StreetLights Outreach, also of Green Bay, a nighttime ministry of presence in at-risk neighborhoods, offers a weekly presence and hosts six monthly block parties, attended by up to 350 low-income people, including children. Each party’s food costs range from $250 to $350. They asked for gift cards to local food or convenience stores to be used as give-away gifts at the parties. Tony Pichler said they received about $150 in gift cards.

Fr. Carr’s Place 2B and the St. Francis Free Community Health Clinic in Oshkosh received three vacuums and “many over the counter medicine and supplies,” according to director Joe Geniesse. He added that they were able to redo the roof on the women’s shelter, but are waiting for funds to redo the men’s.”

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