Wish list brings Easter joy to local groups
Donations go to veterans, pregnant teens, the poor
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
The eighth year of The Compass annual Wish List project was the most successful to date. Nearly 60% of the community service and ministry organizations that requested items received donations. (See "Still Wishing" below for information on how to donate items to groups that did not receive what they had requested.)
"I want to thank you very much," said Sr. Fran Bangert of Wellspring. "We got everything we asked for. Thanks for thinking of us. People are very generous."
Wellspring is a cooperative effort by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross at Bay Settlement, the Salvation Army and the Fort Howard/Jefferson Neighborhood Family Resource Center. This house of hospitality and spirituality located in downtown Green Bay offers support to about 140 women a month. They received a CD/radio/tape player, a new microwave, a vacuum cleaner, and gift certificates.
Other donations included bedding, blankets and towels for Community Clothes Closet in Menasha, a cordless phone for Labor of Love maternity home in Oshkosh, disaster funds for El Salvador earthquake victims through the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse in New Holstein, and a lift chair for a senior day care in Antigo.
This was the first year that House of Hope in Green Bay, a house for pregnant teens and single mothers, was included in the Wish List. They needed a new stove and a washer and dryer to their current nine residents. Compass readers donated all of the appliances.
"I think it's a wonderful program," said Monica Zindler, House of Hope director, and plans to take part in the Wish List next year.
Pioneer Village and Haven in Appleton provide assisted living and vocational rehabilitation for veterans of all ages. They have 24 residents. This is their fourth year in the Wish List. They previously received a weight set and some food storage containers. This year, they received a foosball table, as well as a package of bus passes, stamps and pre-paid phone cards.
Mark Giacomin says the veterans at Pioneer Village, 22 residents right now, go down to the activity room and play foosball every night.
"I had a great response to the Wish List this year," Giacomin said, adding that he wants the veterans to be included in next year's Wish List. "I'd recommend it. It really worked for us."
The higher response rate to requests -- over 14% higher than the last Wish List -- may be attributed to the moving of the Wish List project from Advent to Lent this year. Since Advent is a shorter season, and a more hectic time of year, The Compass felt running the Wish List during Lent would give more individuals and groups a chance to focus on donations and service to these community groups. Another new factor this year was the inclusion of the Wish List on the Compass page on the diocesan web site at www.gbdioc.org.
The groups listed below did not receive what they had requested during The Compass annual Wish List project this year. They would appreciate hearing from anyone who might be able to make a donation or give them other assistance.
AVAIL (Advocates for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Abuse in Langlade County), Inc. offers free services and shelter to victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Services include counseling, support groups, emergency shelter and a 24-hour crisis line for women and children. They provide direct services to 1,000 adults and 100 children a year, as well as additional education activities. Many clients are women and children fleeing abusive situations and need immediate safety. The shelter needs an alarm system, which would link the shelter directly to local law enforcement, but the system costs thousands of dollars. They need contributions toward its purchase. For information, call Carrie Kubacki at (715)623-5177.
Villa Phoenix, Appleton
This transitional living facility helps people with mental illness, developmental disabilities or chemical dependency. Up to 17 residents live there at a time. Villa Phoenix also provides support services, information and referral for others. An average of 40 people find temporary shelter each year while they learn to return to independent living. Director Steve Hinton says that they need a new computer to help them with record keeping and a variety of reports, including monthly progress reports on residents. Call him at (920)731-1316.
The Bridge-Between Retreat Center, Denmark
This rural retreat ministry of the Sinsinawa Dominicans serves 4,900 people each year, an increase of nearly 50% in less than two years. People of all faiths are welcome to study, pray and share meals at this converted farm. The center helps fund its services through an organic farm and the sale of homemade goods. They need new carpeting for the chapel. Also they need a copy machine for brochures and newsletters. They also need a replacement lawn mower/snowblower. Call Diane Eparvier at (920)864-7230.
Fox Valley Jail Ministries, Appleton
Fox Valley Jail Ministry is an ecumenical effort providing religious ministry and counseling to over 500 jail inmates and jail staff each year. Those imprisoned in local jails are often the most forgotten of prisoners serving in temporary facilities with few resources. Many are young, first-time offenders, who may be held in the jail for up to a year. Chaplain Fred Sowatzka said they need a portable CD player. Call Sowatzka at (920)832-4747.
Elizabeth Ministries, Kaukauna
Elizabeth Ministries, started at St. Bernard Parish in Appleton to help new parents, has spread worldwide with an array of information, activities and support networks. Local chapters provide volunteer mentors and resources to "women and families during the joys, challenges and sorrows of bringing new life into the world," says founder Jeannie Hannemann. She says they want to develop a web site and need someone to help with it. They also need financial backing to fund free distribution of booklets, such as the recent "Mourning a Miscarriage." Monetary donations may be sent to the diocesan Catholic Social Services -- Elizabeth Ministries Fund, P.O. Box 1506, Green Bay, WI 54305. To help with the website or for more information, call Hannemann at (920)766-9380.
Holiday House, Manitowoc
Help others learn to help themselves. For more than 40 years, Holiday House has provided employment and housing for persons with disabilities through work services, community employment services and residential services. They currently help 224 individuals. Thomas Keil says the program could use two 25-inch televisions with VCRs and wall mounts to provide educational programs and training for the clients and staff. Call Keil at (920)682-4663.
Chaplain, Oshkosh Correctional Institution
Sr. Susan Clark, SSND, is a chaplain at Oshkosh's medium security prison, which holds about 1,900 men. She provides spiritual programs and materials for religious groups in the prison, including Bible study. Sr. Clark requests cassette players with headphones (not recorders, since the prison will not allow them) and "value-based, Christian oriented videos" and music tapes. She would also like large print Bibles and concordances and recent, updated Catholic reading materials. Contact her at (920)231-4010, ext. 2171.
Fr. Carr's Place 2B, Oshkosh
Fr. Marty Carr is building the 82-room Bethlehem Inn for anyone in need. He hopes to find 82 groups or churches to each paint and furnish a room. That includes carpet, bedding, lamps and bookcases. Fr. Carr would also like live-in volunteers at the inn, as well as "people praying for us." Besides Bethlehem Inn, Fr. Carr runs the Place 2B, a youth drop-in center and gym, and St. Francis Free walk-in Clinic. Call him at (920)231-2378.