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See articles about us in The Journal Times!
- Hygiene product giveaway fills in the gaps, called ‘a blessing’
- Community center, pantry at former A&W on 12th may open this summer
- Paving For Purpose
- Giving to the Nations breaks ground on future food pantry site
- Local nonprofit turning former drive-in into food pantry, outreach center
OUR MISSION. OUR VISION.
Giving to the Nations is an organization devoted through the assembling of all with giving hearts to advance the lives of others, by organizing the compassionate power in people’s lives locally and around the world to advance the common good.
As our inaugural Racine project, 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 $28,555(2).
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 in our community.
- 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.(5)
- Community Garden in collaboration BrightView Landscape Services and the Racine Urban Garden Network. 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 Pantry following the USDA MyPlate.gov guidelines for nutrition. 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 Within our neighbor food pantries our low food security and very low food security individuals and families encounter service gaps due to three factors: 1) income and residency restrictions; 2) pantry operating hours; 3) food distributed and distribution method. We will have an impact on food security in our community by filling the current service gaps. We will serve those members whose income disqualifies them from assistance yet does not allow them the ability to put healthy food, and in some cases food at all, on their tables. Our food pantry will initially be open for nine hours on Friday, expanding with our community need and volunteer availability, helping to fill the current service gap of scattered two to three-hour pantry operating hours. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available at our neighbor food pantries. However, rarely if at all, dairy, meats and poultry which our food pantry will supply. 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 fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats, our food pantry will satisfy a recognized void in our area by consistently providing basic personal care and household cleaning 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.”(7) We will also deliver healthy food, personal care and household cleaning products to our homebound clients.
- Resource Referral Hub. Connecting our community outreach center’s clients with other community resources to help them move forward.
In order to facilitate these and other programs, we must repair/restore our building and grounds. 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 had been minimally used leading to its state of disrepair.
- Broken glass in windows and entry doors is being replaced.
- Crumbled asphalt parking lot, littered with broken glass is being divided into two areas to create a parking area for our community outreach center clients and an environmentally sustainable and functional community green space.
- Roof can no longer be repaired, must be replaced.
- The interior ceilings were water damaged, but are now ready for new insulation and drywall (as soon as our new roof is installed).
- Walk-in cooler and freezer not salvable. The acquisition of new self-contained cooler and freezer units is essential for our fresh and frozen food items.
- Much of the exterior and the entire interior needs paint, this is being accomplishing in stages.
- Electrical must be brought up to code. New LED lighting slated inside and out.
- Water heater not usable.
One might wonder why we would consider such a property. The answer, its potential. Our property is one block off the public transit system, allowing easy access for those with limited or no access to private transportation. Situated on a corner lot, it has access off two streets allowing for an unrestricted traffic flow both on the property and on the surrounding streets, making it a prime location to host and support these essential programs; not to exclude pursuit of other community outreaches i.e., hosting school supply distribution; free eye exams and glasses; and farmers’ markets. The potential is enormous.
Continuing in our mission “to advance the lives of others”, we have partnered with the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps (GLCCC) and the YMCA First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Program for building repair needs, Lakeside Curative Services (LCS) and the Volunteer Center of Racine County for volunteer needs, and the Racine County Sheriff Chaplain’s office. Even though our doors are not yet open to serve our community out of our site, we have:
- supplied donated food for hot meals to be served at the Hospitality Center of Racine, Safe Haven of Racine, Halo in Racine, and the Shalom Center in Kenosha;
- supplemented individual families with food and personal care products;
- provided 123 families with personal care and household cleaning products.(8)
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 it 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 the reason our mission and vision is being turned into a reality.
Won’t you come alongside us? Our community need is bigger then us individually, but together we can make a difference.
Pastor Lynn Nys