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A PLACE OF PROVISION . . .
Giving to the Nations is establishing a Community Outreach Center – A Place of Provision – at 1701 12th Street, near downtown and within the Greater Uptown Area. The City of Racine has identified the Greater Uptown Area as a distressed neighborhood containing a high percentage of low and moderate income residents. Statistics show the percentage of low or moderate income residents in Racine County is 36.6%; the percentage of low or moderate income persons in the Greater Uptown Area ranges from 56.62% to 77.49%.1 On average, the per capita income in our immediate area, $10,691, is much lower than both the State of Wisconsin average of $27,907 and the national average of $28,5552. Understanding the need in the Greater Uptown Area, and that Giving to the Nations’ mission is “to advance the lives of others” we have many programs slated for our neighborhood residents.
- Adult Basic Education and English Language Learners (ELL) Classes in collaboration with the Racine Literacy Council. The level of education as identified within the Greater Uptown Area is not impressive; “34% of adult residents reported having a high school diploma or equivalent, and 14% hold professional certificates, associates, bachelors or other graduate degrees.”1 According to UNICEF, “Nearly 1 billion people will exit the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them will be women. And they will live, as now, in more desperate poverty and poorer health than those who can.”3 We are here to help stop this statistic from becoming a reality.
- Racine Public Library Bookmobile. Statistically two thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times likelier to drop out of school.4 Our goal is to bring the books to them and help foster a love of reading.
- Basic nutrition and food preparation classes in collaboration with UW Extension FoodWise Program. The Racine City Community Health Survey Report shows an increase in overweight in Racine and a slight decrease in consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as high rates of food related disease, establishing the need for multiple interventions including direct education.
- Community Garden in collaboration with the City of Racine. According to the American Community Gardening Association a few of the benefits of a community garden are: community organizing; crime prevention; cultural opportunities; youth education; food production; health and green space.6
- Food Panty following the USDA MyPlate.gov guidelines for nutrition. Studies done in 2013 and 2014 labeled downtown Racine a “food desert.” The USDA defined food deserts as: “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.”7 More recently, the City of Racine in its Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area – Greater Uptown Area: 2017-2019 report states: “Residents in the Greater Uptown Area lack access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. According to the USDA designation, the Greater Uptown Area is considered a food desert.”1 Set up similar to a grocery store experience, our food pantry will allow our clients to shop with dignity from the product shelves, choosing items they will utilize helping to eliminate waste. Along with the staple foods, our food pantry will satisfy a recognized void by providing basic, essential hygiene products. “The In Short Supply: American Families Struggle to Secure Everyday Essentials research project found that many American families struggle to afford basic non-food household goods . . . as a result, make trade-offs with other living expenses and employ coping strategies to secure essential household goods.” In order to facilitate these and other programs, we must repair/restore our grounds and building. Our location was once home of the A&W and then J&W Drive-In Restaurant, but since its closure many years ago, the property has been minimally used leading to its state of disrepair.
Continuing in our mission “to advance the lives of others”, we have partnered with the YMCA First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Program for building repair needs; Lakeside Curative Services (LCS) for volunteer needs; Volunteer Center of Racine County for volunteer needs; and the Racine County Sheriff Chaplain’s office. We plan to collaborate with local churches, schools, other community services, other existing food pantries in our area, to identify and serve individuals and families in need.
In short, our community outreach center is located in the heart of a disadvantaged population, and we are poised to make a difference in our clients’ lives by offering them assistance where they are and when they need it. We are taking the necessary steps for beautifying and making our location a productive part of the neighborhood and the community as a whole; advancing the lives of others to truly make this A PLACE OF PROVISION.
Our supporters are invaluable to us.
We invite you to join forces with us to positively impact this community – our community outreach center is projected to be open Winter 2018.
We cannot do this without you. Your contribution will make a difference!