Past Share the Plate Recipients
Each month, UCN shares half of its cash donations with a charitable organization.
For the month of November, UCN shares the plate with the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. The Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative (MHVI) believes that no American veteran should be homeless. However, in Milwaukee, one of every four homeless individuals is a veteran. Nearly 5,500 additional veterans area at risk for homelessness due to living below the poverty line, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, or living with another family.
Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative reaches out the veterans and their families in Milwaukee. Since 2008, MHVI has helped more than 1,200 veterans and their families. Through outreach activities in areas frequented by the homeless, MHVI volunteers provide hot coffee, sandwiches, toiletries, blankets and clothing to homeless veterans, as well as helping them to apply for and receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Through home support activities, veterans who receive housing assistance through the Veterans Administration, HUD, or other programs are given furniture, household items, food and toiletries to set up their homes. Through its Emergency Food Pantry, veterans can receive food and hygiene supplies if they are in a crisis situation. Finally, through its Bikes for Stripes program, donated bikes and helmets are provided to needy veterans to provide basic transportation and promote health.
MHVI was started by veterans, and much of its work is done by a dedicated volunteer force, many of whom are veterans. For more information about the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative, please visit their website at mkehomelessvets.org.
For the month of October, UCN shares the plate with Interfaith Caregivers of Ozaukee County. Interfaith Caregivers of Ozaukee County's mission is to provide voluntary support services to seniors, as well as adults with disabilities, in Ozaukee County, allowing them to remain independent in their homes.
Interfaith is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization with a trained network of volunteers who assist senior citizens and disabled adults with their non-medical needs. For more than twenty years, Interfaith has provided its services free of charge, regardless of the client's gender, race, economic status or religious affiliation. Services provided include transportation to medical and therapy appointments, help with grocery-shopping and other errands, friendly visits and phone calls, assistance with paperwork and bills, light housekeeping, seasonal yard work, and minor home repairs.
For more information about Interfaith, please visit their website at www.interfaithozaukee.org.
For the month of September, UCN shares the plate with Advocates of Ozaukee. For more than thirty years, Advocates of Ozaukee has provided services for those who may be experiencing domestic or sexual violence.
Advocates of Ozaukee is part of a coordinated community response, made up of representatives of any and all entities dealing with victims and perpetrators of domestic and sexual abuse. The goal of Advocates of Ozaukee is to provide safety for victims of abuse, as well as consistent consequences for abusers.
Services provided to those in crisis include a 24-hour crisis line, temporary housing and food, emergency transportation to shelter, arrangements for education of school-age children and residents, advocacy and counseling, community education services, and referral and follow-up services. Other services provided to victims of abuse include weekly support groups, assistance with obtaining restraining orders and / or legal referrals, and medical advocacy.
For more information about Advocates of Ozaukee, please visit their website,www.advocates-oz.org.
For the month of August, UCN shares the plate with Walnut Way Conservation Corp. The mission of the Walnut Way Conservation Corp. is to "sustain economically diverse and abundant communities through civic engagement, environmental stewardship and creating venues for prosperity."
Walnut Way is unique organization founded by residents of a Milwaukee central city neighborhood. Its offices are the site of a former drug house, which founding members restored and renovated to make it a community center for people in the neighborhood.
Walnut Way focuses on educational initiatives such as civic and community leadership, housing construction and restoration, stewardship of environmental resources and economic development. These initiatives drive programming focusing on urban agriculture, engagement of neighborhood and community residents, and education and development of young adults and children. Walnut Way also works with numerous partners in the community to accomplish its mission, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Growing Power, Fondy Food Center, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), and the City of Milwaukee.
Through its numerous efforts, Walnut Way has helped to nearly eliminate drug and prostitution activity in its neighborhood, while sustaining numerous, successful urban gardens and partnering in programs to engage and benefit the health, well-being and safety of neighborhood residents. For more information about the Walnut Way Conservation Corp., please visit their website, www.walnutway.org.
June and July, 2014
For the months of June and July, UCN shares the plate with the St Vincent de Paul Society of Ozaukee County (SVDP). The mission of SVDP is to end poverty through systemic change. SVDP is able to accomplish this through a membership of volunteer lay people, who visit the poor and needy in their homes, providing comfort and financial assistance.
SVDP also operates the Society Thrift Store in Port Washington. The store sells donated items of good quality at affordable prices to area individuals and families. For those who cannot afford clothing, furniture and other household items, these items are provided for through a member-initiated referral system. For more information about St. Vincent de Paul of Ozaukee County, please visit their website, www.svdpozaukee.org.
For the month of May, UCN shares the plate with the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin (ASSEW). Autism is a lifelong neurological disorder that affects how someone perceives the world through the senses, interacts with other people, and communicates. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that symptoms show themselves with a wide level of severity and characteristics. Earlier this year, the CDC reported that approximately 1 out of every 68 children are currently diagnosed with autism, and this data reflects the dramatic increase of diagnosed autism among children in the past several decades. No single cause has been determined for autism, and it is not curable. However, autism is treatable, and early intervention is key.
ASSEW exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. This is done by increasing public awareness about day-to-day issues faced by people on the autism spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals throughout their lives, and providing the latest information regarding autism treatment, education, research and advocacy.
For more than 30 years, ASSEW has served as the primary autism resource for Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Dodge, Jefferson, and Walworth counties. Services provided to autistic individuals, parents, professionals and the public include information about autism, referrals, networking opportunities, monthly workshops featuring expert speakers, monthly support groups, and much more.
For more information about the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, please visit their website, http://www.assew.org.
For the month of April, UCN will share the plate with Family Promise of Ozaukee County, UCN's congregation-wide social justice project. All of April’s offering will go to Family Promise, which is unique for our Share the Plate program.
Family Promise of Ozaukee County is made up of an interfaith hospitality network of several churches working together to house children and families who are temporarily homeless. Nearly 200 affiliates operate across the country, including in Washington and Waukesha Counties in Wisconsin. Family Promise consists of churches hosting homeless families for a week at a time, four times a year. These families have dinner and fellowship at the church, then are provided a safe space in the church to stay overnight. During the day, families receive breakfast and transportation to the hospitality center. The center offers showers and a mailing address for the families, as well as services for finding jobs and housing.
To recap the history of UCN's involvement with Family Promise, early last year, church members participated in a congregational survey, which showed poverty was a priority concern. With feedback from two Barn Banters, the Social Justice Committee decided that Ozaukee County should be the area of focus. During a public panel discussion hosted by UCN, the lack of housing for children and families facing homelessness was identified as a significant problem in the county. In light of this information, UCN began working with Family Promise. Pat Morrissey is serving as coordinator for this project, both for our church and at the county level. UCN recently signed the Family Promise covenant, agreeing to serve as one of the 13 host churches to be a part of this interfaith network.
Churches involved with Family Promise pledge to raise $2,000 per year as a contribution to the local affiliate. April's offering will assist in procuring UCN’s contribution for their first year. By dedicating all funds from the offering in April to this effort, UCN hopes to bolster its commitment to Family Promise of Ozaukee County as a vitally important social justice project for our congregation. To learn more about Family Promise of Ozaukee County, please visit www.familypromiseozaukee.org.
For the month of March, UCN shares the plate with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI). PPWI is dedicated to empowering all individuals to manage their sexual and reproductive health through patient services, education and advocacy. PPWI opened its first clinic in Milwaukee in 1935, and currently is the state's largest provider of reproductive health services.
PPWI advocates for women and families by fighting to protect access to comprehensive reproductive health care and education. PPWI also provides thorough and medically accurate education about sexuality to teens and adults. Additionally, many health services are offered, such as annual gynecological exams, cancer screenings (including breast and testicular exams and Pap tests), birth control, pregnancy testing and counseling, abortion care, and HIV and STD testing, counseling and treatment. PPWI fills a void by providing care to many people in the state who do not have health insurance, cannot afford these services, or live in an area of the state that is under-served by health care providers. Individuals are never turned away because of an inability to pay for the care provided.
In February, UCN shares the plate with Friends of Ngong Road. The mission of Friends of Ngong Road is to provide support and education for children in Nairobi, Kenya whose families have been affected by poverty and HIV / AIDS.
UCN has had a longstanding relationship with Friends of Ngong Road. Since 2008, the congregation has sponsored a little girl named Veronicah Chemwitch. This is due to the efforts and personal involvement of Vicki Fuerstenau, who introduced the congregation to the program. Through UCN's sponsorship of Veronicah, funds contributed have helped pay for her school expenses, such as her school uniform and shoes, as well as her medical expenses and meals.
To learn more about Friends of Ngong Road, as well as to read more stories about children like Veronicah who are helped by the program, please visit www.ngongroad.org.
For the month of January, UCN shares the plate with the Himalayan Institute. The Himalayan Institute's humanitarian mission is "yoga in action", providing spiritually-grounded healing and transformation to the world, with the values of empowerment, sustainability, and holistic solutions at its core. While early initiatives were primarily undertaken in India and Nepal, more recent efforts have expanded to serve impoverished communities on the African continent, in India, in Mexico, and in Tibetan settlements, and areas of concentration include education, healthcare and the environment. Projects include providing health education and preventive care, establishing libraries for the public, providing funding for rural schools to make needed repairs and provide classroom materials, and educating and implementing "energy farming" for rural farmers in order to cultivate biofuel and develop sustainable tree plantations. For more information about the Himalayan Institute's humanitarian mission, please visit the www.himalayaninstitute.org/humanitarian/.
For the month of December, UCN shares the plate with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease affecting the respiratory and digestive systems of affected children and adults. The disease leads to potentially life-threatening breathing problems and lung infections, as well as significant problems with the process of digestion.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) is a nonprofit, donor-supported organization dedicated to finding a cure for the disease, as well as developing and making medications available to help patients manage their symptoms and helping those affected by the disease to have the best quality of life possible. CFF funds more research on cystic fibrosis than any other organization in the world. Nearly every medication helping cystic fibrosis patients has been made possible by the efforts of CFF. CFF also accredits and supports the Cystic Fibrosis Care Centers, considered a model for the care of chronic illnesses by the National Institutes of Health. These care centers provide expert care at more than one hundred clinics around the country to those with cystic fibrosis. Additionally, CFF advocates for cystic fibrosis patients in the medical, research and legislative communities and provides much-needed information and support to patients and their families.
This month, UCN shares the plate with Bread for the World. Bread for the World is a collective Christian organization acting to end hunger at the global, national and local levels.
Working through churches, campuses and other organizations around the country, Bread for the World urges national leaders to end hunger. Members mobilize people to advocate for the hungry through writing personal letters and e-mails to, and meeting with, members of Congress from both political parties to change or enact legislation affecting poverty and food programs. Bread for the World also conducts research on hunger and food access issues.
While the work of Bread of the World is inspired by the teachings of the Christian faith, the organization does not discriminate against other individuals. For more information, please visit Bread for the World’s website at www.bread.org.
For the month of October, UCN shares the plate with Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity. For nearly thirty years, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity has been committed to building decent and affordable homes in cooperation with individuals and families in need of sustainable housing. Milwaukee Habitat sells the homes at no profit and provides a zero-interest mortgage to partner families, who put in hundreds of hours of "sweat equity."
This year, Milwaukee Habitat launched a new Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Milwaukee, with the goal of transforming the neighborhood into a safe, vibrant neighborhood of choice. In the next three years, they plan to build 150 new homes, rehab foreclosed properties and maintain current owner-occupied homes, as well as address issues such as public safety, youth development and home ownership rates.
Milwaukee Habitat is the largest nonprofit homebuilder in southeastern Wisconsin, having built more than 500 homes to date in 10 neighborhoods. Milwaukee Habitat helps families break the cycle of poverty and build long-term financial security. For more information, please visit their website, www.milwaukeehabitat.org.
For the month of September, we share the plate with Project Q Youth Drop-In Center, a youth program of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. Project Q provides programming and services for LGBT youth between the ages of 13 and 24, including social and skill-building activities, resource and referral information, counseling on healthy sexual and relationship choices, and HIV testing. Programming is designed for the LGBT youth by the LGBT youth, ensuring a safe haven for participants to be themselves in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. More information about Project Q Youth Drop In Center and its mission can be found at their website, projectqmke.org.
In March, donations will be supporting COPE Hotline services in Ozaukee County. COPE has trained volunteers (currently about 50, ages 18-90) who are there for anyone who needs a safe and confidential place to discuss worries and concerns, to find support or to get help. Our own Joette Heckenbach is the Executive Director of COPE.
The Mission of COPE Services is to provide emotional support, crisis intervention, and information and referral services to Ozaukee County and the Greater Milwaukee area. This mission will be accomplished by maintenance of 24-hour telephone helplines, a website, information and referral database and development of educational materials and programs.
COPE Hotline, 262-377-2673. The COPE Hotline is available 24/7. Are you depressed, feel isolated, hopeless? Do you need help finding services? Call COPE, the caring connection.
For more information on the COPE Hotline, visit http://www.copeservices.org/.
In February we will continue our contribution to Friends of Ngong Road and the child we have sponsored since 2008 – Veronicah Chemwitch. Vicki Fuerstenau introduced us to this program for children in Nairobi, Kenya.
UCN's help with sponsorship has provided Veronicah with all school-related expenses, including uniforms and shoes. Meals are provided daily and medical expenses, as well.
Vicki says, "Through the connection with UCN, Veronicah has grown in confidence as her knowledge expands through school." She has received "hope, caring and encouragement" through UCN. Vicki goes on to say "Personally, I am a believer that to change one life at a time can and will change the world."
To learn more about this important program go to http://www.ngongroad.org/. There are memorable stories of children who have had the opportunities UCN and Vicki are giving Veronicah.
Each month, UCN shares half of its cash donations with a charitable organization.
In January UCN will begin 2013 Sharing the Plate with the Benedict Center in Milwaukee. Their mission is to work with victims of crime, offenders, and the community to achieve a system of criminal justice that is fair and treats every person involved with dignity and respect.
Services offered by the Benedict Center:
- The Women's Harm Reduction program offers opportunities for women who are in conflict with the law by offering anger and stress management resources, drug and alcohol treatment, adult education, parenting and family nurturing and more.
- Success Works helps women learn the skills needed to successfully apply for a job and keep it.
- Community Advocacy is an ongoing program of interacting with the community and the criminal justice system.
- Outreach to women involved in drugs and prostitution through the Sisters Project.
- Restorative Justice Program.
Learn more about all of these programs and opportunities to volunteer at: www.benedictcenter.org/programs.
In December UCN will be Sharing our offerings with Mothering the Mother. This organization's mission is to provide access to quality childbirth professionals, especially for teens and low-income moms. It as
nominated by Jaclyn Orozco. Everyone receives help from a group of 11 doulas, two educators, and one lactation specialist. Income guidelines determine sliding-scale fees; some clients receive services for free. Pre-natal, labor, birthing, nursing, parenting education, and other post-natal services are offered. Mentoring services are available to individuals who would like to become part of a support system for mothers and families. Learn more about the services offered at www.motheringthemotherinc.info.
Each month, UCN shares half of its cash donations with a charitable organization.
In November we will learn more about the Himalayan Institute’s VIDA program in Mexico. VIDA is a campaign to alleviate epidemic levels of dietary disease in rural Mexico through compact, home gardens and nutritional counseling.
During Mexico’s transition into industrial agriculture, generations of region-specific farming knowledge was lost, and now rural Mexican farming communities no longer have the ability to feed themselves. The instability of the global market for cash crops like coffee has robbed families of the self-reliance, making healthy food unaffordable.
In the VIDA program, a team of experts trains 50 nutritional counselors. Each counselor teaches 10 families how to create high-yield raised-bed gardens and teaches the basics of good nutrition. Seeds, mesh fencing, and technical know-how are provided. Family diets (and health) are improved. Surplus yields are sold in markets or retained for seed.
The VIDA program was nominated by Anna Rychner. More information is available at http://www.healthyvida.org/.
In October shared our weekly offerings with STEPPING STONE FARMS. SSF offers programs for at-risk youth and veterans. These programs improve mental health by fostering resilience, responsibility, and self-esteem. With the support of certified therapists, the clients work with horses, caring for them and riding them, to build their own ability to meet challenges, to trust, and to succeed.
Executive Director, Lia Sader, has certifications from the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, and is a member of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, and Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association. Lia owns and maintains the farm; she does not accept a salary for the work she does with teens and veterans. Programs offered are: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP); Teens Riding Out Trouble (TROT); Equine Assisted Learning (EAL).
Michaela Powell has been a volunteer at Stepping Stone Farm. Her experience as a volunteer with Stepping Stone Farm moved her to name them as a candidate for Sharing the Plate. Learn more about the programs offered at www.steppingstonefarms.org.
We shared our September Sunday offerings with the Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee. The PLC will be celebrating their 10th anniversary in the Milwaukee community working with Milwaukee Public Schools to present day-long workshops for 4th and 5th graders on learning peaceful ways to solve conflicts. After the initial workshop the staff of PLC returns for follow up with the children. One child summed up what the workshop meant to her: "You helped us to care for each other more, and we are nicer to each other now."
The Peace Learning Center, at the request of staff at a public school in Bonduel, WI, trained counseling staff and teachers to present the workshop in their school. As funds become available, they are also expanding their workshops to middle schools in MPS.
On September 16th, in the afternoon, the PLC will celebrate their anniversary. There will be demonstrations of the workshop, nature hikes, refreshments and fun for children of all ages. The center is located in the Friends Meeting House at 3324 N. Gordan Place in Milwaukee. To learn more about the work PLC is doing go to www.peacelearningcentermilwaukee.org.
In the summer of 2012, UCN's Share the Plate program worked with Family Sharing, an Ozaukee County Food Pantry, to ensure that organic produce is available to people they serve – those on limited incomes. Family Sharing used funds from Share the Plate to purchase organic produce through a plan they have with Piggly Wiggly. They were offered the maximum flexibility to choose which vegetables to purchase based on their knowledge of the client base and their storage capabilities. The nomination for Family Sharing came from UCN’s Green Committee – the first nomination from a UCN committee! For more information, go to http://www.familysharingozaukee.org/.