We’re Open for Donations & Onsite Services!

After closing for the holidays and a week of inventory, Neighborhood Connection reopened for onsite services on Monday, January 11th. We are open Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM and the 4th Saturday of the month from 9:00 AM-2:00 PM. We both accept donations and welcome clients in for shopping during these hours. 

General COVID-related safety guidelines that we have in place include the following:

  • Staff, volunteers, clients, and donors over age 60 and those who are medically vulnerable should continue to stay home, thus will be encouraged to continue to stay home and not come in.
  • Please follow these procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

– Social distancing practices will be used throughout the office and store.

– Staff members, volunteers, clients, and donors who have been exposed in the past 14 days or are sick should not come to the building.

– Frequent handwashing and/or use of hand sanitizer is required.

– We will provide masks and gloves for those who need them.

– Cleaning supplies and disposable utensils and cups for the kitchenette will be provided.

Everyone will be required to wear a face mask when in the building. The only exception is for staff when they are working in their private office and no one else is near them.

– Frequently touched surfaces including door handles, desks/counters, phones, light switches, faucets, kitchenette, coffee bar, and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

  • Instructions on the proper use of face masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies will be provided.
  • Staff members, volunteers, and clients who enter and leave the building will sign in and out in case this information is needed for contact tracing.

Store Donations

  • We will be open for donations Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.
  • Donors should place their items in the purple bins in the lobby. Ideally, only one donor should be in the area at a time. Others will be asked to wait outside for their turn.
  • Items stay in the bins for at least 48 hours before being moved to the sorting room for processing.
  • During open hours and as weather permits, the inside foyer door will be set to the “open” position to minimize contact with the door handle.

Staff

  • Our team will work in the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; they may continue to work at home on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Any meetings with groups larger than 10 people, or fewer if there is no space that will allow for social distancing, will be held online.

Volunteers

  • All volunteers must register for shifts online.
  • We are limiting the number of volunteers allowed in the building at any one time to five – one in each of the following areas: Welcome Desk, Sorting Room, store, back office, and storage room (downstairs). Note: If family members live together, they can volunteer together in the same area.

Clients

  • Clients who are older than 60, medically vulnerable, ill, or who have been exposed in the last 14 days can continue to request items for pick-up or delivery rather than coming in to shop.
  • Any client who is not feeling well should remain at home and can request items be delivered to them.
  • Clients can shop, by appointment, anytime during our open hours. Appointments for shopping can be made online or by calling us at (608)849-5740. 
  • Client families are asked to send only one family member for shopping, if possible. We realize there may be times when more than one family member needs to look for clothing or other items that only they can select, but we will encourage the families to keep the number low.
  • Clients will be required to use hand sanitizer upon registration, before starting shopping.
  • If a client touches an item for an extended period or tries on a piece of clothing or an accessory, it should be placed in a designated bin and will not be placed back out on the floor for 48 hours.

If Someone Who Has Been in the Building Becomes Sick

If a staff member, volunteer, client, or donor who has been in the building is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, the following procedures will be followed:

  • The impacted individual will have to remain at home until they meet the requirements to discontinue home isolation per CDC recommendations and/or the guidance of their health care provider.
  • We will close off any areas that were used by for a prolonged period of time by the individual. After 24 hours, the area will be cleaned and disinfected. Surfaces will be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfecting. The individual(s) cleaning the area will wear gloves and a face mask.
  • We will notify others who may have come in contact with the person of their possible exposure, but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Those who may have had contact with the person who do not have symptoms should remain at home and practice social distancing for 14 days.
  • We will provide all necessary information to the county public health department for contact tracing, as required.
  • We will evaluate staffing and open hours should an illness or exposure leave us too short-handed to remain open.

* * *

All of these procedures will be monitored, evaluated, and updated as guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and state/county public health departments are modified.

FREE Holiday Groceries for Area Families

UPDATE: Thanks to the generosity of so many in the community, we were able to provide Piggly Wiggly gift cards to more than 150 families and delivered groceries for a holiday meal to 25 homebound individuals.

Due to the pandemic, our holiday meal program will operate a bit differently this year. Neighborhood Connection, in partnership with Piggly Wiggly, will provide a $30 gift card to individuals and families so that they can purchase groceries for a holiday meal. We’ll also send along some tips for how to put a great meal together for that amount. The gift cards will be mailed to homes so that they arrive at least a week before Christmas.

We realize that some in our community are homebound or unable to grocery shop due to a health condition or disability. For these individuals and households, we will deliver groceries to make a meal for 4-6 people. As in the past, the meal will include a ham and side dishes. The meals will be delivered on Saturday, December 21st between 10:00 AM and noon. Someone must be home to receive the meal.

The gift card or holiday meal is provided free of charge to anyone within the Waunakee school district or Village/Town of Dane who is experiencing financial insecurity.

To request a gift card or holiday meal, please register online or call us at (608)849-5740. The deadline to register is Friday, December 4th.

If you would like to make a donation to help cover the cost of meals, you can do so online or by mailing your donation to Waunakee Neighborhood Connection, 208 S Century Avenue, Waunakee, WI 53597.

Updated Health & Safety Protocols

Due to continuing increases in the number of COVID-19 cases in our area, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection will be implementing a limited operations plan for December and early January.


Current procedures that will continue
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms or who has been exposed should not enter the building.

Anyone entering the building must be wearing a mask and keep it on through the duration of their time in the building. The only exception is for staff members working in their private office with the door closed.

Volunteers and clients must sign in and out on the Daily Visitor Tracking form.

Staff members will continue to be present in the building on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. The building will be open 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. Staff may work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

We will continue to accept donations for the Community Store. Donations can be dropped off in the building lobby and will be held for 48 hours before being sorted.

The building will be cleaned at least twice a week and high-touch surfaces will be disinfected regularly by staff and volunteers.

Changes to procedures
We will suspend accepting furniture donations as those involve going in and out of donor and client homes.

We will allow up to four volunteers in the building at any one time, and only if their work does not require them to encroach upon the space being used by another staff member or volunteer. The areas where volunteers may work include the Welcome Desk, Sorting Room, Store, Storage Room, and Data Entry office. Two volunteers who live in the same household may work in the same area but will still count as two volunteers in the building.

Clients will be encouraged to call or email to request items, then arrange for curbside pick-up. In cases where staff determines that a client needs to come into the Store to select items, only one client at a time will be allowed to shop in the Store and only during times that there are no volunteers working in the Store.

The building will be closed to clients and donations on Friday, December 11, and December 19 through January 10.

A limited number of volunteers will be scheduled for special events (Adopt-a-Family and Christmas Meal). Strict social distancing will be adhered to during these events.

Inventory will take place the week of January 4-8. No more than four volunteers will be scheduled for any one shift and strict social distancing will be maintained.

We will regularly re-evaluate this plan and make adjustments, as needed, based on current conditions.

Horrible Holiday Sweater Celebration!

Kicking off the holiday season with a FUNdraiser to support our vital programs

Though we can’t gather this year for our traditional Horrible Holiday Sweater Shuffle 5K, we can still pull out the sweaters, celebrate, and have a great time as we help those in our community who are experiencing financial insecurity.
This year has brought a dramatic increase in the number of families served by the many community volunteers at Waunakee Neighborhood Connection. We are nearing 200 households, comprised of almost 700 individuals, registered for our programs. Each family’s level of need has also risen as many of them deal with job loss, reductions in hours, and health concerns. This growth in demand for our services, coupled with having to cancel our two biggest fundraising events this year, makes it vitally important that we bring in adequate funds to keep serving the community. The Horrible Holiday Sweater Celebration gives you the opportunity to make that happen!

How do we participate?
The Horrible Holiday Sweater Celebration is a virtual event in which you can donate online personally and then set up your own fundraising page to get donations from others in your social, school, or professional circles. You can customize your page with your own photos or video of you and your family, friends, or colleagues (safely, of course) having fun while wearing your favorite ugly holiday sweater, socks, and/or mask. Get as creative with this as you would like! You can also add your own story of why you’re participating and include a special thank you message to those who give. Then, share it on all of your email and social media platforms starting this coming Saturday, November 28th – the traditional day of our Shuffle – through Tuesday, December 1st, which is Giving Tuesday.
You can set up your page as soon as you’d like. We’ll start sharing photos and stories from participants and donors though social media on Saturday when the Celebration officially begins!

Register and set up your fundraising page here.

Questions? Contact us at wncteam@waunakeenc.org or (608)849-5740.

Book Discussion – So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Building Connections| So You Want to Talk About Race book discussion

Thursday, July 23 | 6:30-8:00 PM

Video conference via Zoom

Please join us for a virtual discussion of the book So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. As part of the Building Connections program series, we will use this work to discuss systemic racism and white privilege. We welcome all voices to engage with these topics as a community.

This title is available as an always-available audiobook, accessible with your library card through OverDrive or Libby. The Waunakee Public Library also has a small number of print copies available in its walk-in Lucky Day collection. For questions on how to access this title, call the library at (608) 849-4217.

Register to participate at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BuildingConnections_2020July.

Please Note:

  • This will be a safe space to ask questions and discuss current events in relation to this title, and no hate speech or personal attacks will be tolerated.
  • The facilitators of this discussion are white. Many Black leaders and other leaders of Color are asking that white people not rely on Black people and people of Color to educate them about systemic racism and white privilege. As we have questions about race and racism, we will research answers together to make sure we are learning from the wisdom of Black leaders and other leaders of Color. 

About the Building Connections Program Series

With a vision of “a thriving community where all are valued” and a mission to “engage neighbors to support and empower one another,” Waunakee Neighborhood Connection is committed to bringing people together to strengthen the community. We recognize that individuals become empowered through knowledge and connections, and the first step in valuing others is to understand others.

The “Building Connections” program series is designed to do just that by introducing neighbors in Waunakee to each other and to lived experiences that may be different than their own. Through the series, we’ll explore topics such as racial and social justice; diversity, tolerance, and inclusion; poverty and the working poor; and the power of connectedness and community.

We are excited to partner with the Waunakee Public Library and Create Waunakee on this series, as they share a common commitment to building community connections and engaging minds through learning and creativity.

Our hope is that you will find something through your participation that will introduce you to neighbors you’ve not yet met, spur your thinking, increase empathy, and move us all toward creating a more just and equitable world.

Our message to the community: What we can do to combat racism

Last year during our community impact planning process, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection’s board of directors created our vision statement, “A thriving community where all are valued.” During this time when our community, nation, and world have been shaken by recent events, it seems particularly relevant. We recognize, though, that for our vision to be realized, we must first confront and do our part to eliminate racism.

The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are only the latest additions to a much too long list. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color due to a variety of health and socioeconomic factors. We have seen a white woman accuse a black man of threatening her, when he was not, and then threatening to weaponize the police against him. And, recent local situations in Waunakee have exposed bias and racism that exist in our own community.

These events, on top of the stress of changes to our lives brought on by the pandemic, may have you feeling angered, sad, tired, confused, frustrated, or hopeless. We realize that the culmination of these events has created a perfect storm that must lead to lasting change. However, it can be difficult to know how to best respond and move forward in a positive way.

When we adopted our vision statement, we knew that achieving it could not be accomplished overnight. It would be a journey that would require ongoing listening, education, deep and difficult reflection, collaboration, advocacy, and action. It would stretch us beyond our flagship programs of the free store and holiday programs, and it would make a greater contribution to building the strength of our community.

Our mission of providing programs and resources that engage neighbors in supporting and empowering one another gives us guidance in determining a way forward toward the vision. Individuals become empowered through knowledge and connections, and the first step in valuing others is to understand others.

As we continue this work internally with our board and team, we also want to be part of the solution in the community. We had already planned to launch community education programs this year and have decided to broaden our scope of topics. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be sharing resources and opportunities to help you increase your understanding of those who may have different lived experiences than yours. We’ll explore topics such as racial and social justice; diversity, tolerance, and inclusion; poverty and the working poor; and the power of connectedness and community. You’ll find these in our newsletters, Facebook page, and other materials. Our hope is that you will find something that will spur your thinking, increase empathy, and move us all toward creating a more just and equitable world.

If you have thoughts or ideas that you’d like to share with us on these topics, or are interested in collaborating in some way, please reach out to our executive director, Lisa Humenik, at lhumenik@waunakeenc.com or (608)849-5740.

We’re Open for Donations & Onsite Services!

After closing our building from March 25th through May 26th during the Wisconsin and Dane County Safer at Home orders, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection reopened for onsite services on Wednesday, May 27th. Though Neighborhood Connection fit the criteria of an “essential business” and could have remained fully open during #saferathome, we made the decision to modify our programs and services to protect the health and safety of our donors, clients, volunteers, and staff. However, our services including case management, supplies from our free store, resource referrals, and financial assistance continued uninterrupted to more than 170 area households.

In developing our reopening plan, we have used recommendations in the Reopening Guidelines published by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Cushman & Wakefield’s Workplace Readiness Essentials.

General guidelines in place throughout these phases include the following:

  • Staff, volunteers, clients, and donors over age 60 and those who are medically vulnerable should continue to stay home, thus will be encouraged to continue to stay home and not come in.
  • We have implemented the following procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19

– Social distancing practices will be used throughout the office and store.

– Staff members, volunteers, clients, and donors who have been exposed in the past 14 days or are sick should not come to the building.

– Frequent handwashing and/or use of hand sanitizer is required.

– We will provide masks and gloves for those who need them.

– Cleaning supplies and disposable utensils and cups for the kitchenette will be provided.

Everyone will be required to wear a face mask when in the building. The only exception is for staff when they are working in their private office and no one else is near them.

– Frequently touched surfaces including door handles, desks/counters, phones, light switches, faucets, kitchenette, coffee bar, and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

  • Instructions on the proper use of face masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies will be provided.
  • Staff members, volunteers, and clients who enter and leave the building will sign in and out in case this information is needed for contact tracing.

Phase One (May 27th – TBA)

Store Donations

  • We will be open for donations Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.
  • Donors should place their items in the purple bins in the lobby. Ideally, only one donor should be in the area at a time. Others will be asked to wait outside for their turn.
  • Upon being filled, we will place a sign in the acrylic holder on the bin indicating the day it was filled and move the bin to a storage room where it will sit for at least 72 hours before being moved to the sorting room for processing.
  • During open hours, the inside foyer door will be set to the “open” position to minimize contact with the door handle.

Staff

  • Our team will work in the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; they may continue to work at home on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Any meetings with groups larger than 10 people, or fewer if there is no space that will allow for social distancing, will be held online.

Volunteers

  • All volunteers must register for shifts online.
  • We are limiting the number of volunteers allowed in the building at any one time to five – one in each of the following areas: welcome desk, sorting room, store, back office, and storage room (downstairs). Note: If family members live together, they can volunteer together in the same area.
  • Only three volunteers will be scheduled to work during shopping times: one for registration, one for the Corner Store, and one for checkout.

Clients

  • Clients who are older than 60, medically vulnerable, ill, or who have been exposed in the last 14 days can continue to request items for pick-up or delivery rather than coming in to shop.
  • Any client who is not feeling well should remain at home and can request items be delivered to them.
  • Shopping hours have been extended by one hour to better allow for social distancing. Daytime shopping will be from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM, evening from 4:00-7:00 PM.
  • Client families are asked to send only one family member for shopping, if possible. We realize there may be times when more than one family member needs to look for clothing or other items that only they can select, but we will encourage the families to keep the number low.
  • Only five clients will be allowed in the store at one time and only one person should be in each shopping room at one time. Those waiting outside can remain in their cars or stand in a line on the front walk staying at least six feet apart.
  • To facilitate social distancing, clients will be asked to come to shopping days in June based on the first letter of their last name: A-E 10:00 AM/4:00 PM; F-J 10:30 AM/4:30 PM; K-N 11:00 AM/5:00 PM; O-R 11:30 AM/5:30 PM; S-V 12:00 PM/6:00 PM; W-Z 12:30 PM/6:30 PM. If these times don’t work for a client, s/he can request a different time from Stacey.
  • Any client who cannot make it during a designated shopping time may contact Neighborhood Connection to make an appointment for a day/time that works for their schedule.
  • Clients will be required to use hand sanitizer upon registration, before starting shopping.
  • If a client touches an item for an extended period or tries on a piece of clothing or an accessory, it should be placed in a designated bin and will not be placed back out on the floor for 72 hours.

If Someone Who Has Been in the Building Becomes Sick

If a staff member, volunteer, client, or donor who has been in the building is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, the following procedures will be followed:

  • The impacted individual will have to remain at home until they meet the requirements to discontinue home isolation per CDC recommendations and/or the guidance of their health care provider.
  • We will close off any areas that were used by for a prolonged period of time by the individual. After 24 hours, the area will be cleaned and disinfected. Surfaces will be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfecting. The individual(s) cleaning the area will wear gloves and a face mask.
  • We will notify others who may have come in contact with the person of their possible exposure, but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Those who may have had contact with the person who do not have symptoms should remain at home and practice social distancing for 14 days.
  • We will provide all necessary information to the county public health department for contact tracing, as required.
  • We will evaluate staffing and open hours should an illness or exposure leave us too short-handed to remain open.

* * *

All of these procedures will be monitored, evaluated, and updated as guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and state/county public health departments are modified.

UPDATED 4/6/2020: Our COVID-19 Response

Dear Neighbors –

The health and safety of our clients, volunteers, and staff – and that of all our neighbors – is our top priority. Therefore, based on public health recommendations, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection will be changing our procedures until the state’s stay-at-home orders are lifted in order to do our part in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Here is a summary of the changes:

  • We will suspend the acceptance of clothing and household good donations for our free store, though we will continue to serve clients with items that we have currently available. Should a need arise for something that we don’t have on hand, we’ll put the word out for specific donations.
  • Staff and key volunteers will be working from home unless there is a situation that requires us to meet a client, volunteer, or donor at our building

If you need assistance

Whether or not you are a current client, if you have any question or need during this time, please reach out and let us know – even if you’d simply like someone to talk to. We know that the events of the past few weeks and the uncertainty of how this will continue to develop is stressful for everyone and we will continue to be here for the community.

How to contact us

  • To leave a message on the office phone, call (608)849-5740. Staff members are checking messages remotely at least hourly Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM.

·      To reach us quickly with an urgent need or question, call (608)535-9357. This a temporary direct line that we have set up that one of us will answer. You may get voicemail on this line if we are taking another call at the time, so leave a message and we will get back to you.

·       Email us with less urgent needs at wncteam@waunakeenc.com.

Facilitating community volunteerism

We will continue to facilitate community volunteerism with neighbors helping neighbors. If you are willing to be called upon to help, please learn more about this effort and register at https://conta.cc/2vZlasi.

Monetary donations

Over the coming weeks and months, we anticipate that our programs will adjust and shift to meet the community’s most urgent needs. This will likely result in unplanned expenses, both for our operations and to assist our clients directly. Donations to either of the following funds will make a tremendous positive difference in supporting your most vulnerable neighbors:

·       PULSE Fund – Supports the operation of our store, client programs, and case management

·      Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund – Provides direct financial assistance to clients experiencing a short-term hardship

Donations to these funds can be made at https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/WaunakeeNeighborhoodConnectio/donate.html

Neighborhood Connection Celebrates Anniversary with New Logo and Website

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On February 14, 2020, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection turned 13 and is celebrated by introducing an updated logo and launching a new website. It was Valentine’s Day of 2007 when the organization’s founder, Genna Eaton, received approval from the IRS for its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, which seems fitting since Neighborhood Connection was created with so much love from, and for, the community.

The new logo incorporates the heart connecting two people, symbolizing the neighbor-to-neighbor approach that Neighborhood Connection takes to supporting the most vulnerable families in our community. The full name of the organization is now part of the logo, as opposed to only “WNC,” so that it will be more recognized and understood by those who may not be familiar with the acronym.

Along with the new logo, the organization has adopted a new tagline – “The heart of the community.” Neighborhood Connection’s board of directors felt that this phrase captures the essence of the vital work being done by the organization to both support families in need and create meaningful connection among neighbors through volunteerism and service together.

Neighborhood Connection’s updated website features new navigation and more concise content that should make it easier for visitors to the site to find what they are looking for. It also marks a change to a .org extension for the URL, which more clearly designates that Waunakee Neighborhood Connection is a nonprofit organization. The new website can be found at www.waunakeeneighborhoodconnection.org.

Staff and volunteers at Neighborhood Connection will be fully incorporating the new logo into the organization’s publications and materials over the next few weeks.

The Big Waunabowskee

The Big Waunabowskee Bowl-a-Thon is postponed due to the COVID-19 situation. We will announce a new date as soon as it is set!


It’s time to gather your team for the Big Waunabowskee bowl-a-thon! Join us for a great evening that brings the community together to raise vital funds for Neighborhood Connection. Enjoy a mix of bowling, socializing, silent auction, 50/50 cash raffle, and games for a great cause!  Tickets are $300 per team ($50 per person for a team of six) and includes two hours of bowling, shoe rental, live DJ entertainment, pizza, soda, and beer. I ndividual bowlers may register for $60 each, as space allows.  Early shift – “Dudes” | 5:00 PM-9:00 PMLate shift – “Achievers” | 7:30-11:00 PM We ask that one person serve as the team captain and complete the registration for the team. Be sure to know which shift you plan to register for AND have your team name as well as the name, email address, and t-shirt size for each member of your team prior to registering. Once your team is registered, you will receive a link to the payment site. Payment can then be made in full for the team or you can share the link with team members so that each team member can pay separately.

Register your team here for the LATE shift


Register your team here for the EARLY shift — SOLD OUT

Individual bowlers, please contact Lisa Humenik at lhumenik@waunakeenc.com to register and be placed on a team.

Event Schedule

Pizza, desserts, soda, and beer will be served throughout the evening.

DUDES 5:00-6:00 PMRegistration, social, silent auction, and raffle ticket sales 6:00-8:00 PMBowling, raffle ticket sales, and silent auction bidding 8:00-8:30 PMPrizes and raffle drawing 8:30-9:00 PMAdditional social time and silent auction bidding 9:00-9:30 PMSilent auction close and cash-outACHIEVERS 5:00-7:30 PMOptional additional social time and silent auction bidding 7:30-8:30 PMRegistration, social, silent auction, and raffle ticket sales 8:30-10:30 PMBowling, raffle ticket sales, and silent auction bidding* 9:00-9:30 PM*Silent auction close and cash-out 10:45 PMPrizes and raffle drawing

Questions? Contact Lisa Humenik, executive director, at (608)849-5740 or by email.

THANKS TO OURBIG WAUNABOWSKEE SPONSOR:


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