FDL Salvation Army Warming Shelter And Red Kettle Campaign

 Front Row from left:  Wayne Bailey (The Garten Factory, Commonwealth), Matt Mickelson (Tobin Machining) , Dawn Mueller-Stacey (Red Kettle Leadership Team, Mountain Dog Media), Shannon Foan (QPS Employment), Taima Kern (The Reporter/Action Publications), Amy Thomas (Grande), James Israel (QPS Employment) .  Middle Row (from left):  Captain Telinda Wilson (The Salvation Army), Terry Davis (Radio Plus), Jill Wendt (Society Insurance), Cindi Thorpe (Society Insurance), Danita Legler (The Salvation Army), Jed Keller (National Exchange Bank and Trust Foundation), Back Row (from left): Captain Steven Wilson (The Salvation Army), Lee Uecker (Uecker-Witt Funeral Home), Joel Wendt (Ellison Electric Supply, Inc.), Phillip Michels (Dale R. and Ruth L. Michels Family Foundation), Ron Jacobson (The Salvation Army), Joe Moore (Red Kettle Leadership Team, FdL City Manager)  (Photo courtesy of Studio One)

 “When we need help and ask, help comes,” Salvation Army Captain Steven Wilson said. “ The warming shelter opened Nov. 1. The Red Kettles appeared three short days afterword.  Two tremendous efforts and opportunities to give, offered virtuously simultaneously.   We accomplished both with the help of Fond du Lac County’s compassionate hearts.”

When news came in spring that Fond du Lac was in need of a warming shelter, The Salvation Army of Fond du Lac County stepped in to help.  Amber Bose was named Shelter Manager. Bose drew from FdL Corps. team members, the 13 shelter/housing programs in the Salvation Army’s Wisconsin & Upper Michigan Division, and her own 3 years  as Steven Point shelter staff to  structure the warming shelter operation and procedure .    Lee Uecker / Uecker-Witt Funeral Home, Entringer Brothers Construction, Holy Family Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church, & The City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provided initial funding. Kevin and Connie Michels , churches, families, schools shared start up supplies; 43 community “cooks” volunteer meals. 

Just days after the shelter opened, The Salvation Army launched the 2016 Red Kettle Campaign, asking community for $160,000 to fund help for 2017. Advisory Board members Scott Richter, Joe Moore, Dawn Mueller-Stacey, Community Resource and Development Director Connie Millard, Co-Kettle Coordinators Captain Steven Wilson and Danita Legler, and Mini Counter Kettle Coordinator John Pelletier lead the effort.  

The National Exchange Bank & Trust Foundation, Mid-States Aluminum, Ellison Electric Supply, Horicon Bank, and JF Ahern were first to contribute.

92 businesses collected donations in mini counter kettles; Tobin Machining, Inc. encouraged online and text- to- donate initiatives; each Korneli location, The Association of Commerce, Annie’s Fountain City and The Salvation Army  distributed 2016 Red Kettle Season Passes; Festival Foods, Kwik Trip, The What Not Shoppe and Papa Johns created special collections. Action Advertiser spotlighted the mini counter kettles & coordinator John Pelletier in December’s Action Experience. Empty Bowls, The Garten Factory’s Winterfest and the YMCA included Red Kettle special appearances, JF Ahern and Horicon Bank began a traveling trophy award for the top mini counter kettle collection.

Fleet Farm, Pick ‘N Saves (Pioneer, Johnson St.), Piggly Wiggly, Backyard Grill, Festival Foods, Kristmas Kringle Shop, Shopko, Schreiner’s, Walmart, Walgreens (North, East, South) and The Forest Mall hosted Red Kettles. “Veteran” bell ringers   Shirley Abler volunteered for her 19th year, and Sarah Quandt & friends for their 15th year; Holiday Automotive, Rotary, and Nauti-Gals renewed their tradition of ringing bells and contributing.

Businesses drove collections, challenging community to match their donations: Tobin Machining, Inc. kicked off the kettles Nov. 4 with a $750 match; and an anonymous sponsor spearheaded a $5000 Black Friday match.

KFIZ and 107 The Bull raised $17,162 with their 17th annual Bucket Brigade, featuring an $8,000 Michels Corporation match, Firefighter local 400, Miss Fond du Lac Teen Amber Wells, Santa and Mrs. Claus.  With two weeks to go and the kettles 46% full, Society Insurance and Osborne and Son Trucking challenged community to match their$6,000 donation.

Then, just days before the campaign’s end, frigid temps and a winter storm stalled kettle collections. Lenz Truck, Grande Cheese, QPS Employment, Uecker-Witt Funeral Home, Baker Cheese, Commonwealth Companies, Fond du Lac Area Foundation-Harold L. Sabel Fund,  Muthig Industries , Ahren Gross Plumbing and Radio Plus launched a final appeal. Terry Davis, President of Radio Plus inspired listeners to help, “Working together, everyone pitching in, we can raise the resources The Salvation Army needs to continue as one of this community’s most trusted helping hands.”

The incredible end result:  The Red Kettle Campaign raised $166,186.54, exceeding its $160,000 goal.   This year’s top Red Kettle location:  Pick ‘N Save Pioneer ($15,282).  Top “mini” counter kettle location: Kitz and Pfeil True Value Hardware ($444).