Residents of UCC-related Cedar Community in West Bend, Wis., work hard to give back to their local community. Spearheaded by the CHHSM ministry’s Cedar Ridge Resident Council — a volunteer group at Cedar Community that serves as a governing board for the independent living apartments — efforts include working together to make monthly donations to different local organizations. But close to the heart of many is the Full Shelf Food Pantry in West Bend.
Cedar Community’s involvement with the food pantry began years ago, thanks to the efforts of resident Martha “Marty” Gressen. Frank Miezio, treasurer of the Cedar Ridge Resident Council, currently is the point person of the food pantry donations. He coordinates the monthly food and monetary donations, as well as an annual drive at Cedar Community’s independent living apartments and homes. Several residents assist with distributing and collecting bags and loading the food pantry truck during the annual food drive. The annual food drive is in summer, when the food pantry’s needed is the greatest. Monetary and food donations are also collected every month either at Cedar Community’s Coffee Hour or by residents dropping off items. Several residents help by putting out monthly flyers, maintaining the food pantry cupboard and dropping off food and monetary donations each month at the pantry.
“Our residents are very generous,” says Miezio. “Oftentimes, when someone moves out of the apartments or passes away, the family donates the non-perishable items.”
Over the past 10 years, more than $35,000 and 5,000 bags of food have been donated to the pantry, thanks to Cedar Community residents. “Residents who live at Cedar Community have a real sense of gratitude,” says resident and food pantry volunteer Geri Frank. “We all feel blessed, that’s the overall tone here, and it is our way of thanking God for the many gifts we have been given.” says Geri Frank, resident and food pantry volunteer.
The West Bend Full Shelf Food Pantry serves more than 500 families per month, 20 percent of which are senior citizens — and that number continues to grow. “The support from Cedar Community both in food and financial contributions helps both the young and old,” says Full Shelf Board President Al Pauli. “They are the most consistent group of donors. We greatly appreciated Cedar Community’s support.”