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OUR COMMUNITY

Community Feature Archives

Learn about the events, nonprofits, and projects from our past community features. To read our current community feature, click here.

January 2024: Permanent Supportive Housing for Veterans

Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity has received a $300,000 grant from Pablo Foundation for the development of a veterans housing complex near downtown Eau Claire.

 

This project will create 11 new units (12 beds) of affordable and accessible housing for veterans at risk for or currently experiencing homelessness.

Pablo Foundation’s grant provides funds for asbestos abatement, preparatory work on a community room, and installation of an elevator.

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The elevator in particular will “ensure that Veterans who use wheelchairs are afforded the right to fully participate in community with their neighbors and access shared amenities such as laundry.” (CVH4H Press Release)

 

Pablo Foundation encourages you to answer CVH4H’s call to help make this dream a reality moving forward.

Visit cvh4h.org/donate or cvh4h.org/volunteer to learn how you can make a difference!

December 2023: HIV/AIDS Awareness Month

HIV/AIDS Awareness Month begins each year with World AIDS Day on December 1st “to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.” 

 

“World AIDS Day remains as relevant today as it’s always been, reminding people and governments that HIV has not gone away. There is still a critical need for increased funding for the AIDS response, to increase awareness of the impact of HIV on people’s lives, to end stigma and discrimination and to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV.”

Health officials in the United States first became aware of AIDS as early as 1981, but for years to come, the Reagan administration and members of the press treated the epidemic as a joke, calling it “gay plague” and laughing about it in press briefings.

 

The misconception that AIDS only affected gay men allowed a largely homophobic public to disregard the gravity of the disease. By the time 1984 came to a close, AIDS had claimed the lives of over 3,500 people in the United States and infected thousands more.

Reagan himself wouldn’t publicly mention “AIDS” until the following year, a full two years after public health experts began begging for federal funding to research the epidemic.

Reagan’s successors to the presidency slowly began taking action to investigate and combat HIV (then known to be the cause of AIDS).

 

The treatments available for people living with HIV/AIDS have revolutionized what it means to have the disease. Today, people with HIV who receive appropriate treatment have a normal life expectancy.

“People living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy who have an undetectable level of HIV in their blood have no risk of transmitting HIV sexually.” This is the central message of the United Nations’ “Undetectable = Untransmittable” campaign.

Sources: UNAIDS.org, History.com, & Vox.com

November 2023: Native American Heritage Month

Pablo Foundation celebrates tribal sovereignty and identity through National Native American Heritage Month in November. We honor this land’s first inhabitants and the deep worth of their cultures, beliefs, and contributions to humanity.

Dr. Arthur Caswell Parker, a member of the Cattaraugus Seneca Tribe whose Seneca name was Gawasco Waneh, lead an effort which resulted in the State of New York marking the first American Indian Day in 1916 to recognize the “First Americans.” That designation eventually evolved into “National American Indian Heritage Month” beginning in 1990. Variants of the name include “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.”

Text reading: "Native American Heritage Month" with a photograph of a Native American family smiling at the camera
Text reading: “Terminology: United States: Both Native American and American Indian 'are acceptable and often used interchangeably.' Other Regions: Arctic: Inuit, Yup’ik, and Aleut (individual groups); Alaska Natives is also sometimes used. Canada: '[P]eople refer to themselves as First Nations, First Peoples, or Aboriginal.' Mexico, Central America, & South America: Spanish words indígena (Indigenous), comunidad (community), and pueblo (people)" Sources listed are National Museum of the Native American & US Bureau of Indian Affairs

There is no single Native American culture or language. The terminology used here provides general guidelines. “The best term is always what an individual person or tribal community uses to describe themselves. Replicate the terminology they use or ask what terms they prefer.”

Key Concepts from the National Museum of the Native American:

  • "American Indians are both individuals and members of a tribal group."

  • "For millennia, American Indians have shaped and been shaped by their culture and environment."

  • "Elders in each generation teach the next generation their values, traditions, and beliefs through their own tribal languages, social practices, arts, music, ceremonies, and customs."

  • "Kinship and extended family relationships have always been and continue to be essential in the shaping of American Indian cultures."

  • "American Indian cultures have always been dynamic and changing. Interactions with Europeans and Americans brought accelerated and often devastating changes to American Indian cultures."

  • "Native people continue to fight to maintain the integrity and viability of indigenous societies."

  • "American Indian history is one of cultural persistence, creative adaptation, renewal, and resilience."

  • "American Indians share many similarities with other indigenous people of the world, along with many differences."

Text reading: “Though anthropologists believe that humans have lived in what we now call the State of Wisconsin for over 12,000 years, ‘contemporary tribal historians resist such efforts to date human occupation of the area. According to the origin stories of most Indian nations in Wisconsin, the tribes have been here “from the beginning of time.”’” There is a 1925 photograph depicting Native Americans, possibly Winnebago, on rocks at the Dells of the Wisconsin River. Sources listed are: Indian Nations of Wisconsin by Dr. Patty Loew & Library of Congress

The land that the City of Eau Claire is on was once a meeting ground for the Ojibwe, the Dakota, and the Ho-Chunk Nations; the Ojibwe and Dakota in particular fought over the region for generations. The Ojibwe ceded land that included Eau Claire to the U.S. government in an 1837 treaty, the terms of which were formally betrayed by President Zachary Taylor in 1850. “In 1852, an Ojibwe delegation to Washington, D.C., led by 93-year-old Kechewaishke (known in English as Chief Buffalo), managed to convince the new president, Millard Fillmore, to reverse the order. Fillmore ultimately created the six Ojibwe reservations that still exist in northern Wisconsin.”

On November 16th, UWEC will host The Native Pride Dancers who “strive to educate and entertain audiences of all ages throughout the world about the beauty, skill, and majesty of Native American music and dance while creating a moving artistic experience that engages the audience.” For tickets and more information, visit tinyurl.com/nativepride2023.

 

While this appears to be the only local event to mark Native American Heritage Month this year, you can find a schedule of multiple presentations and webinars through the Administration for Native Americans that will be available online at tinyurl.com/ananahm2023.

 

Sources: nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Museum of the Native American, Indian Nations of Wisconsin by Dr. Patty Loew, Dr. Debra Barker, VolumeOne, Wisconsin Historical Society, UW-Eau Claire, & Administration for Native Americans

October 2023: Hispanic & Latine Heritage Month

We’re in the last few days of Hispanic & Latine Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)!

“We know that just one descriptor can hardly capture the spirit and cultures of so many people who descend from a vast geography that includes present-day Southwestern U.S. states to the southern most tip of South America, and nearly every present-day country and island in between.” (pbs.org)

 

“Hispanic” typically refers to anyone from a Spanish-speaking country. (teenvogue.com)

 

“Latino” includes any Latin American regardless of language and can be more inclusive than “Hispanic.” “Latino” uses a masculine suffix to refer to any mixed-gender group. (teenvogue.com)

 

“Latinx” and “Latine” are gender-neutral alternatives for “Latino.” Unlike “Latinx,” which uses recent English conventions of “x” denoting gender neutrality, “Latine” follows Spanish conventions by using “e” as a gender-neutral ending. (teenvogue.com)

These terms are “in addition to the many more terms used for people who have families and ancestors in the 22 nations and territories that comprise Latin America.” (pbs.org)

 

“The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras[,] and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively... Día de la Raza, which is October 12, [also] falls within this 30 day period.” (hispanicheritagemonth.gov)

 

“Latino history is American history. Latinos trace their origins to Latin America and other Spanish colonies, both in the Caribbean and in the contemporary United States. These groups include, but are not limited to, Indigenous, Mestizos, Afro-Latinos, and other mixed-race people.” (hispanicheritagemonth.gov)

 

“Currently representing the largest ethnic minority in the country, Latinos have participated in the creation and growth of this nation well before it was named the United States. Complex stories of colonization, immigration, and slavery make Latino history an infinite source for inquiry and knowledge.” (hispanicheritagemonth.gov)

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If you want to learn more, check out the article “Top 8 Reasons Why and How We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month” by Emily Key and Adrián Aldaba published by the Smithsonian Learning Lab and the Smithsonian Latino Center.

September 2023: 42nd Annual Buckshot Run

Pablo Foundation is helping sponsor the 42nd Annual Buckshot Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin!

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This two- and five-mile walk/run at Carson Park helps support more than 1,000 Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes. The Buckshot Run will be held on Saturday, September 2nd, and you can find more details at www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/events/buckshot-run/.

The Buckshot Run began in 1982 as the only race in Eau Claire, but it's grown to accommodate over 1,000 runners and walkers from around the country annually. The race got its name "Buckshot" after the nickname of Ron Buckli (then a sports writer for the Leader-Telegram) and was born out of Buckli's desire to see Eau Claire host a running race that would benefit a local charity for years to come.

You can also help support Special Olympics Wisconsin by visiting https://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/donate/ways-to-give.

August 2023: Chippewa Valley Multicultural Festival

Pablo Foundation is sponsoring the 2023 Chippewa Valley Multicultural Festival!

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A community event free to the public, the festival will be held in Phoenix Park on Sunday, August 20th from 1 to 6 p.m. and will feature food trucks, performers, activities, and information.

Visit the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/266150629434964. The festival is hosted by JONAH of the Chippewa Valley, Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association, and Welcoming New Neighbors: NW WI Immigrant Resettlement.

If you are interested in also “reserving a space to share a specific culture, mission outreach project, community organization information,” you can click here for the event’s Vendor Application and Guideline forms: https://forms.gle/zQaGJ8y9jeM1otAfA

July 2023: Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month!

 

“Disability Pride Month celebrates disabled persons embracing their disabilities as integral parts of who they are, reclaiming visibility in public and interacting fully with their disabilities out in the open, and rejecting shame and internalized ableism." (American Bar Association)

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Disabilities can be visible and invisible; they can be temporary or permanent. Disabilities can be intellectual, developmental, physical, cognitive, emotional, etc. Our understanding of "disability" is shaped by our societal context as well as psychological and medical knowledge.

 

People with disabilities have advocated for centuries to ensure their right to fully participate in society and lead fulfilling lives. This has required continued activism as social contexts have shifted over time.

 

Disability Pride is celebrated in July because it originated with the the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 33 years ago. Once enacted, this civil rights legislation prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in many areas of public life.

 

As a work of legislation, the ADA uses "disability" as a legal term and not a medical one, so while it represents a groundbreaking advancement, the ADA's protection of people with disabilities is still limited in scope.

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The Disability Pride Flag was created and revised by Ann Magill, who has cerebral palsy. She used feedback from people with a variety of disabilities to refine her original image. She also waived her copyright so everyone can use the design, which is in the public domain.

Melissa Blake, a disability expert, activist and social media influencer, writes, "So much of the language surrounding disability is misguided at best and downright rude and insulting at worst; it’s meant to make non-disabled people less uncomfortable, but it ends up hurting disabled people in the process."

"13 'Polite' Ways You're Talking About Disability That Are Actually Rude" by Sarene Leeds features recent interviews with Blake and other disability advocates in Reader's Digest. The article provides a lot of good starting points in learning how to communicate more respectfully with and about disabled people.

Sources: American Bar Association, Woman's Day, American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, ADA National Network, Ann Magill, University of Oregon, Reader’s Digest

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June 2023: Pride Month

Happy Pride Month!

 

Eau Claire's annual Pride in the Park will take place on June 10, 2023, at Phoenix Park, hosted by the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center (cvlgbt.org) and sponsored in part by Pablo Foundation.

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With the theme "Better in Color," Pride in the Park will feature "more than 50 vendor booths, food trucks, activities for all ages, and music and drag performances from local talent. [T]his event highlights the diversity, kindness, and passion that make the Chippewa Valley such a unique and wonderful place to live."

Each year, June marks LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, a celebration of both queer civil rights efforts and queer cultures. Pride Month began as a way to recognize the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising against anti-queer police brutality.

Though the Stonewall Uprising didn’t start the LGBTQIA+ civil rights movement, it was a galvanizing force for queer political activism and represents one of history’s first major protests on behalf of equal rights for queer people.

 

Today, Pride is a celebration that spans the globe, and while in most cities, the parades and marches are organized in June, some cities opt for other months.

 

Some corporations appropriate Pride for their own profit while cowering when allyship becomes even mildly inconvenient. "[R]ainbow-washing is when a company uses rainbow advertising during [J]une to suggest support for the LGBTQ community while putting in no tangible effort to help queer people at any other time of the year," writes Matt Bernstein (@mattxiv on Instagram).

 

Even as Pride Month has grown more expansive, inclusive, and accepted, threats against queer people continue. The last few years have seen state legislatures pursue a record number of bills that attack LGBTQIA+ rights, especially transgender youth.

 

While bigoted politicians and pundits use disinformation, violent rhetoric, and outright lies to justify their targeting of LGBTQIA+ children and adults, reality simply doesn't support their hate-filled claims.

Every major medical, psychological, and psychiatric professional organization in the United States agrees based on overwhelming scientific consensus that sexual orientation is multifaceted, that sex and gender are not binary, and that LGBTQIA+ individuals’ identities are valid, natural, and real.*

Let’s celebrate Pride Month and protect the rights and safety of LGBTQIA+ people together!

 

*Here are just a few of those organizations, comprised of hundreds of thousands of medical and mental health professionals: the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Endocrine Society, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Nursing, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American College of Physicians, and the American Public Health Association.

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May 2023: No Mow May

No Mow May is a campaign to protect food sources for early season pollinators. In January of 2023, the Eau Claire City Council voted to amend the existing city ordinance, allowing residents to abstain from mowing their lawns until June 1st.

May is an important time for flowers to bloom; their vital resources allow our pollinators to thrive. Pablo Foundation awarded grant funding to JONAH of the Chippewa Valley to support their local efforts regarding pollinator education.

 

Please consider participating in No Mow May this year and in the future.

 

You can learn more at tinyurl.com/ec-no-mow-may.

April 2023: Hmong Heritage Month

April is Hmong Heritage Month! To celebrate the depth and breadth of Hmong culture and history in Eau Claire and globally, please consider attending one of the many remarkable events below.

The Eau Claire Hmong Heritage Month logo was designed by Peevxwm Lauj.

 

April 10: Meet and Greet Event (Critical Hmong Studies Resource Center)

4–6 p.m.  |  Room 2138 of Vicki Lord Larson Hall (UW-Eau Claire)

April 13: Mason Her Qeej Performance (NCUR Conference)

4:30–5:30 p.m.  |  Schofield Auditorium of Schofield Hall (UW-Eau Claire)

April 21 & 22: Los Tsev (Home): Cia Siab, WI (special exhibit)

12–5:30 p.m.  |  L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library

This showcase comes from a grassroots collective of Hmong American scholars, advocates, organizers, artists, and community members from across the state of Wisconsin. For more information about this exhibit, please visit https://lephillips.librarycalendar.com/event/los-tsev-home-cia-siab-wi-special-exhibit.

 

April 24: ECASD Hmong Club’s Hmong Heritage Month Event

5–8 p.m.  |  North High School

“Please join us… to celebrate and learn more about Hmong culture and appreciation of Hmong Youth Community.”

April 26: Hmong Banquet

5–7 p.m.  |  Dakota and Alumni rooms of Davies Center (UW-Eau Claire)

 

April 28: Hmong Heritage Month Gala

5–11 p.m.  |  The Lismore Hotel

Hosted by Black & Brown Womyn Power Coalition, the gala aims “to bring together communities in the Chippewa Valley area to build and create relationships with Hmong families and each other, [to] honor the achievements of the collective Hmong community, and to celebrate the diversity that the Hmong culture brings to this area.” See https://www.facebook.com/blackandbrownwomynpowercoalition/photos/a.371226440304507/1372552803505194/ or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hmoob-heritage-month-gala-tickets-577746263627 for more information.

April 26: Hmong Banquet

5–7 p.m.  |  Dakota and Alumni rooms of Davies Center (UW-Eau Claire)

 

April 28: Hmong Heritage Month Gala

5–11 p.m.  |  The Lismore Hotel

Hosted by Black & Brown Womyn Power Coalition, the gala aims “to bring together communities in the Chippewa Valley area to build and create relationships with Hmong families and each other, [to] honor the achievements of the collective Hmong community, and to celebrate the diversity that the Hmong culture brings to this area.” See https://www.facebook.com/blackandbrownwomynpowercoalition/photos/a.371226440304507/1372552803505194/ or https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hmoob-heritage-month-gala-tickets-577746263627 for more information.

 

April 29: Hmonger Games (UW-Eau Claire Hmong Living Community)

UW-Eau Claire

 

You can find information about Hmong Heritage Month events at UW-Eau Claire at https://www.uwec.edu/news/news/uw-eau-claire-schedules-hmong-heritage-month-events-5679/.

March 2023: Black History Month Gala

In honor of Black History Month, Pablo Foundation sponsored the inaugural Black History Month Gala, which was a result of the collaborative efforts of Black & Brown Womyn Power Coalition, Power Up Eau Claire, and Power of Perception. This celebration of Black history and culture included a keynote speech by Anthony Wallace as well as a cocktail hour, dinner, speakers, performances, a silent auction, music, and dancing.

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Photos used with permission of FILMTROVERSE Productions

 

We are thankful to have been able to connect in person with so many of our non-profit partners, table guests, and community leaders at this inspirational event and look forward to a tradition of celebrating Blackness in our community and world.

February 2023: Dr. Jelani Cobb Lecture

Eminent scholar Dr. Jelani Cobb will present “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today” on Wednesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ojibwa Ballroom of UWEC’s Davies Center.

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Per UWEC’s events page, "Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker, writing on race, history, justice, politics, and democracy, as well as Columbia University’s Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and Dean of Columbia Journalism School. He recently co-edited The Matter of Black Lives, a collection of The New Yorker’s most ground-breaking writing on Black history and culture in America, featuring the work of legendary writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison.”

Sponsored in part by Pablo Foundation, this Martin Mogensen Education Lecture (rescheduled from last fall) is presented as a special event of The Forum and Racing Toward Justice series. Please reserve your free in-person or virtual tickets in advance by visiting uwec.ly/tickets.

January 2023: Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

 

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” - Annie Dillard

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has partnered with the Family Resource Center to bring a free book each and every month to children from birth to age five. Serving Eau Claire and Dunn Counties, this program helps kids thrive and helps improve kindergarten readiness.

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With the support of Pablo Foundation and community members’ donations, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library stands to make a profound difference in our youngest neighbors’ lives.

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Consider giving your own gift of any amount at www.frcec.org/dpil.

December 2022: Children's Museum of Eau Claire

 

Pablo Foundation was thrilled to tour the nearly completed Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. Their thoughtful planning has lead to a powerfully connective place to play and learn for kids, and we felt privileged to get a preview.

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The new Children’s Museum of Eau Claire approaches kids’ experience holistically, from mind to body to community, and their expanded programming and carbon-neutral environmental impact will help strengthen Eau Claire.

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In addition to purchasing day passes, families can also become members of the children’s museum, and memberships can even be purchased as gifts. To learn more, visit www.childrensmuseumec.com.

November 2022: Feed My People Food Bank

 

Our executive director, MaiVue Xiong, and our grants and communications administrator, Zach Schultz-Bates, visited Feed My People Food Bank in mid-November to see their nearly-completed Hunger Action Center (which won grant funding from Pablo Foundation) and brainstorm with a few of their dedicated and passionate staff members.

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Partnering with organizations like Feed My People Food Bank helps move our community toward sustainable long-term solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.

Visit their website at www.fmpfoodbank.org to learn more about how you can help make a difference.

October 2022: Menomonie Market Food Co-op

At the mid-October groundbreaking ceremony for Menomonie Market Food Co-op’s forthcoming 14,000 square-foot store on the corner of North Barstow and Galloway, the folks who gathered expressed a strong and passionate sense of community.

Four photographs of an outdoor construction site feature people with shovels, people gathered around a tent, construction equipment, and a person speaking at a microphone. In the center of the collage is the logo for Menomonie Market Food Co-op.

MMFC General Manager Crystal Halvorson celebrated the history of the Market and this expansion project, which will greatly increase the Market’s capacity to positively impact Eau Claire since merging with Just Local Food in 2021.

 

The Pablo Foundation is a proud Menomonie Market Food Co-op member and is excited to be part of the exciting changes MMFC will be bringing to our community. We invite you to join us in this journey by also becoming a co-op member!

September 2022: HERE Conference

The Pablo Foundation is proud to have sponsored the first HMong Economic Advancement, Research, and Equity (HERE) Conference.

Hosted by HMong American Leadership & Economic Development (HALED), the HERE Conference was held in September 2022 at the Pablo Center at the Confluence in Eau Claire, WI.

 

The conference provided attendees from around the country with networking opportunities, entrepreneurial tools, and engaging discussions to foster participants’ professional development.

With 18 workshops, roundtables, and keynotes across six breakout sessions, the first two days of the conference connected participants with each other, with mentors, and with resources and concluded with a banquet.

 

The summit featured research findings, a summit panel discussion, and breakout groups, culminating in planning actions and timelines for growth.

 

The HERE Conference was supported by organizations across Wisconsin and the nation.

 

Learn more at www.hmongamericanled.org.

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August 2022: Hike for the Homeless

Pablo Foundation is a proud sponsor of the 19th annual Hike for the Homeless, which was held on August 16, 2022.

Hike for the Homeless Sponsor: Pablo Foundation

Hike for the Homeless benefits Beacon House Family Shelter in Eau Claire. In 2021, Beacon House provided:

  • Emergency shelter, meals, and hospitality to 34 families with children

  • 4,346 nights of shelter

  • Case management to support families transitioning from homelessness to maintain independent housing

  • Home furnishings for 10 families

  • 13,038 meals

  • 1,742 volunteer hours

To learn more about Family Promise and Beacon House, click here.

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