Feeding those in need during uncertain times
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The New Community Shelter has been feeding hundreds every night through its community meal program, and while the delivery process has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its commitment to help continues.
Staff have implemented an emergency preparedness plan for its emergency shelter and the Community Meal Program.
“It is delicate balancing act,” said Executive Director Terri Refsguard. “On one hand we are here to help the most vulnerable adults experiencing homelessness, and children and adults who need help with meals every day. At the same time, we need to do our best to protect residents, staff, volunteers and donors. We are already feeling the effects financially, but we really have to do what is best for this community.”
In regards to the emergency shelter, staff is doing what they can to quarantine current residents that are elderly or have compromised immune systems.
The Community Food Program will now be a meals to-go program.
Refsguard said participants will receive a prepared, packaged hot meal-to-go, or food boxes which include food they can prepare at home to avoid visiting the shelter nightly for a meal.
All meals will be prepared and served by New Community Shelter staff only. Volunteers will not be able to help.
Donations of food or other items are also not being accepted.
“The decisions we make now are not easy,” Refsguard said. “I know people will still want to donate items and many of our volunteer groups said they are still willing to come in and prepare and serve meals. However, we have to contain our facility, which is in the best interest of everyone associated with the New Community Shelter.”
The shelter’s murder mystery dinner fundraising event scheduled for Friday, April 17 has been postponed.
With that, Refsguard said the shelter is in need of financial donations.
For more information, visit newcommunityshelter.org.
There are other organizations also doing what they can to help those in need during the crisis.
The Boys & Girls Club
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay has closed its doors during the pandemic, but staff is doing everything they can to support more than 3,000 members and their families during the crisis.
Staff is putting together care packages for members which include food, basic essentials and activities to do during the school shutdown.
Interim Executive Director Eric Vanden Heuvel reached out to the community on social media asking for donations.
Vanden Heuvel said all funds received this week will go directly toward the care packages.
“During this time we are still committed to meeting the needs of our over 3,000 members that we serve in community,” he said. “These care packages will not only include food and basic supplies, but also activities to keep kids engaged as if they still had access to our high-quality programs.”
Vanden Heuvel said packages will be delivered to club members.
More information can be found online at bgcgb.org/donate.
Salvation Army meal program
The Salvation Army Community Center Noon Lunch Program has been canceled until further notice, instead the organization is offering to go/boxed meals.
Meals will be available on the Union Court side of the building in a drive-up fashion from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
The pantry will remain open to walk-ins or scheduled appointments Monday through Friday.
Basic needs appointments will only be taking place for rent if guidelines are met, but all other basic need appointments including clothing, bus passes and gas will be suspended until further notice.
Organizers say while the lunch program may temporarily look different, the goal is to continue serving those in need.
The non-profit is also suspending all senior programming until at least April 13.
House of Hope
The prevent exposure to clients, their children and staff, House of Hope will not be accepting donations at the door until at least April 6.
Contact the shelter via phone or email for other ways to help.
Free lunches for children
There are a handful of restaurants in the community that have come forward offering meals for children 18 years old and younger during the week to help with the lack of school lunches.
• Old Mexico Authentic Cantina and Grill, 11884 Velp Ave., Suamico. Free lunch deliveries for children Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information call 920-634-2260.
• Gallagher’s Pizza, at all four Green Bay locations. All locations will be offering children a free piece of pizza, applesauce and a cookie from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
• Chicago Street Pub, Grill and Banquets, 1950 Dickinson Rd, De Pere. Offering free bag lunches, including a ham or turkey sandwich, applesauce and string cheese, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.
• Howard Suamico School District. Free meals will be available to all students. Children must be present to receive free meals. Each site will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information visit the district website.
• The Green Bay Area Public School District is expected to offer school lunches following this week’s spring break. Those details will be released soon.