St. John Homeless shelter gears up for new season with unique fundraiser

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | September 21, 2016

Mattress sale will benefit shelter; Nov. 15 gala will also support ministry

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]GREEN BAY — The purchase of a new mattress can help support the needs of those who do not have a bed to call their own. St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter has partnered with Mike and Sue Wendtland, owners of The Mattress Store, for an upcoming fundraiser. Eighteen models of mattresses will be on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the shelter, which will receive a percentage of the sales.

“Everybody needs a mattress,” said Mike Wendtland. “Studies show that every house has (an average of) 3.5 mattresses. In the Green Bay area, over 30,000 mattresses are sold each year. This is a way to get a quality mattress at a competitive price and help people. It’s a win-win situation.”

Mike Wendtland, owner of The Mattress Store in Green Bay, is working with St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter on a new fundraising venture. Wendtland will donate a percentage of sales from mattresses to the homeless shelter. He will be at the shelter on Oct. 1 with 18 mattress models on display. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)
Mike Wendtland, owner of The Mattress Store in Green Bay, is working with St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter on a new fundraising venture. Wendtland will donate a percentage of sales from mattresses to the homeless shelter. He will be at the shelter on Oct. 1 with 18 mattress models on display. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Mattresses, made by Symbol Mattress of Watertown, Wis., range in price from $299 to $1,299 and are made to order.

“We order on a Monday and they are here on Friday,” said Wendtland. “After the sale, we do all deliveries, pickup and servicing. After a couple weeks, we will write a check to St. John Homeless Shelter.

“I’ve been to the shelter several times,” he added. “I make sure that I am involved, not just doing the fundraiser, but involved in their ministry or program. They did a brat fry, so I volunteered. Before I started this, I didn’t know much about (the homeless shelter). I’ve been blessed to meet the people, to see their heart.”

The mattress fundraiser, held one month before the shelter reopens for guests, also provides an opportunity to bring awareness, said Leanne Baeten, volunteer coordinator.

“It’s a good time for people to come in and see what’s going on,” she said. “People who are not familiar with the shelter and haven’t volunteered here before can see what the shelter is like. If you are at all thinking about buying a mattress, make sure to come in and check it out that day.”

New volunteers are needed, added Baeten. Volunteer and item donation information will be available at the fundraiser, which will also include a brat fry from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Item donations are needed year round, said Baeten.

“We open on Nov. 1, but we have been serving people every Tuesday and at the Micah Center (daytime resource center for adults) every day,” she explained. “We run out of things like bug spray and umbrellas. People out there living on the streets need these things. They lose things. If it’s stashed somewhere it may be taken or thrown out. They go back and their stuff is gone. They live a hard life.”

The mattress sale is one of many fundraising efforts for the shelter, which does not receive city or county funding or parish/diocesan financial support. The budget has doubled with the Micah Center, said Baeten.

“Anything we can do to help,” she said. “Capital Credit Union has been really good to us. They did a shred fest. We sent some staff over and helped monitor and organize the people going through to shred documents. All the donations from that event came to us.”

Capital also sold “Fighting Homelessness” bracelets. Baeten pointed to a group of area nurses who ran a brat fry to raise money for the shelter as another example of generosity.

“We need to build more of those community/business partnerships out there,” she said.

During the 2015-2016 season, St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter served 451 individuals with 14,744 nights of shelter. Seventy-six percent of all guests served were not served at St. John’s the prior year.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]

‘Restoring Hope’ gala supports shelter
“Restoring Hope,” a gala to support St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter and the Micah Center, will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Riverside Ballroom, Green Bay. This year’s theme will be “Step into the Story: Be Part of the Next Chapter.”
The evening, which begins at 5 p.m., will feature dinner, live music and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $75 per person. Tables for eight are $500.
For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Pat Lane at (920) 544-5759 or email stjohnhomelessshelter [email protected]
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