Thursday, December 29, 2011

What will you change in 2012?

This is the time of year when people reflect back on the year that is about to pass, and look forward to the year to come.  This is also the time when many people make New Year's resolutions.  Most of these resolutions involve one thing--change.  We asked guests to share their resolutions, or plans for change, for 2012.  Not surprisingly, many of the things that made the list are shared by people all over: to cut back or stop smoking, eat better, lose weight, to be a better person, to be more patient.  Reducing the amount of time on Facebook also made the list.  Resolving not to make resolutions also appeared.  Many guests' goals, however, exhibit a fierce determination.  More than one person responded that they will work harder to get a job and housing.  My favorite response to the question of "what will you change in 2012?"--"my address." 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Experiences

We love it when volunteers share their experiences of volunteering at LPCS.  We recently received an article written about a Wisconsin youth group's trip to Chicago and wanted to share it with you.  Enjoy!

If you walked into the Lincoln Park Community Shelter in Chicago, IL on July 31, you would have seen 15 people from Menomonie's First Congregational United Church of Christ.  Kids and adults alike would be found playing games, preparing a supper, and laughing with the guests in the homeless shelter. 

The group of 6 adults and 9 youth left on Friday, July 29, for a long, long drive down to the Windy City.  Upon arriving, the group stayed at St. Pauls United Church of Christ in the Lincoln Park area.  Three teams prepared tow breakfasts, two dinners, and three bunches of sack lunches over the course of three days.  The preparation entailed planning, shoppiung for, cooking, and plating and serving each meal.

This was the first mission trip for many of the youth, and it really showed them that not everybody has a place to come home to every night.  The Lincoln Park Community Shelter is a facility in the Lincoln Park neighborhood that provides housing and meals for 35 homeless people.  Because it's privately funded, the guests, as they are called, can stay as long as they need to.  Some of the men and women staying at the shelter have jobs or are going to school and are making the transition into permanent housing, which is the goal of the program.  When they leave, a spot opens up and a new person comes into the shelter.  Alumni of LPCS (Graduates) often volunteer once they have left, creating a cycle of good-deed doing. 

The experience was a new one for the youth.  "It really made me realize that people on the street sometimes have good skills and just need some help to get into a shelter and have a better life," saus Sean Williams who went on the trip with his father Todd and his younger brother Max.  Rachel Ropella says, "Going to Chicago truly opened my eyes about how I see poverty and how much of a difference serving them with a smile makes."

Fifteen adults and youth returned Tuesday, August 2, with a new way pf perceiving the world.  Everyone had a great time, as is evidenced by their blog:  For more information about the trip, contact First Congregational UCC at 715-235-5838.
--Emily Billingsley, First Congregational UCC

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our Generous Community

Decorating the Community Room Wednesday afternoon, I started thinking about all of the wonderful things about working at LPCS during the holidays. As the official Volunteer Coordinator, and the unofficial “Donation Coordinator,” I am in the unique position of being on the receiving end of a lot of giving. While LPCS is fortunate enough to receive many volunteer and donation inquiries year-round, the holidays seem to bring out more generosity than I thought possible! Everyone is ready to bring over their old coats, drop off extra food, and spend every spare moment making sure that our volunteer calendar is full. I could not feel part of a more thoughtful community.

The constant inflow of donations, food, and time are incredibly magnificent.  Because our guests are staying at LPCS for longer periods of time, we have less turnover and are serving fewer people overall, which means there are only so many coats, scarves, boots, etc. that we can use at any given time. We want to make sure that your generous donations are getting to the people who need them the most, so we sometimes “re-donate” extra items to another worthy charity, to ensure that we are “spreading the wealth” and making sure that everyone can have a warm and bright holiday season! 

Want to help LPCS in an easy way?  Remind your friends and family to spread holiday cheer year-round.  One of our goals is to make sure that we can spread “holiday cheer” with every guest, whether they stay here from September to January, or March to October.  Everyone deserves a CTA pass, a variety of food to eat, and good shoes to walk in.  Encourage everyone to designate a random month in the year in which they donate and volunteer with the same fervor that they expel during the winter holiday season.   Better yet, encourage them, if able, to give continuously throughout the year, even if that means smaller amounts of time and items.  We understand that not everyone is able to volunteer on a regular basis, so don’t think your efforts are unappreciated by any means!

I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has, and will, donate and volunteer this year at LPCS. We would not be able to do what we do without all of you! The holidays can be an especially hard time for our guests, and they notice and appreciate the extra effort by volunteers and donors during this time, as they will throughout the year.
 --Elli Krandel, Volunteer Coordinator