An Unexpected Gift
By: Maureen Atwell, Executive Director on Apr 27, 2021
One of our biggest struggles in the pandemic has been finding and purchasing supplies to keep our guests safe. The past year brought unprecedented need for shelter as people in our community lost their livelihoods and their homes, and we’ve been working hard and getting creative to help as many people as possible.
We have a daily practice of disinfecting our shelters from top to bottom, which has been critical in keeping our shelters outbreak-free, but it’s gotten harder and harder as cleaning supplies remain expensive and scarce. Our community has been incredibly generous in gifting supplies, but with three large shelters operating at full capacity, we go through reams of paper towels every week, not to mention bleach, disinfecting wipes, mop heads, and other cleaning items.
We try to keep a sense of humor, and after finding that our stash of paper towels was running low yet again, Development Manager Katlin Hahn made a dramatic and heart-wrenching video in hopes of inspiring people to donate paper towels:
Then, something amazing happened. In a newsletter for nonprofit housing providers, we read that Wisconsin Emergency Management might have supplies available. We submitted a request and hoped for the best, having no idea the bounty that was about to come our way.
A week later, to our complete astonishment, a truck came to our office and two men unloaded an absolute treasure trove of supplies we’ve needed desperately since the pandemic began. Mop buckets of the highest quality, disinfecting wipes, toilet brushes, bottles of bleach, roll upon roll of toilet paper, and the most glorious collection of paper towels I have ever seen. Our entire staff was elated, I was in tears, and in the spirit of the moment I decided to demonstrate the excellent quality and capacity of our new mop buckets.
All humor aside, we are so grateful to Wisconsin Emergency Management for their incredible gift. We’re also grateful for the Wisconsin Balance of State Continuum of Care for getting the word out and coordinating the effort, and to anyone else who helped this happen. This gift will allow us to keep our shelters and our community safe, and came at a time when it was most needed. Thank you, Wisconsin Emergency Management!
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