LETTER: Holidays were happier, thanks to kind businesses, nonprofits

To Ozaukee Press:

Hundreds of Ozaukee County families had a happy and less stressful holiday season, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and community members that teamed up and donated toys, bedding and gift cards. These holiday drives helped Ozaukee County individuals and families struggling to make ends meet get through some tough times, stretch their budgets and give their kids a Christmas to remember.

More than 400 gift cards worth over $13,000 were donated and distributed to seven local nonprofits. Gift cards from places like Meijer, Piggly Wiggly, Pick ‘n Save, Walmart, Walgreens, Kwik Trip and Casey’s helped at-risk individuals and families in Ozaukee County cover the basic necessities.

United Way of Northern Ozaukee started the gift card program in 2020 as a way to help families get through the Covid-19 pandemic. It was so popular with our partner agencies that program was continued in 2021.

Also this holiday season, Kapco’s Kids2Kids toy drive collected and distributed toys for over 270 Ozaukee County children during the holiday season, and at least eight local organizations will benefit from the generosity of the Kapco team and the community.

Lake Financial Group, based in Port Washington, “adopted” eight families in 2021, sharing gifts with neighbors who may have otherwise gone without. Employees received wish lists for the kids in each family, and purchased and delivered the items ahead of Christmas.

For the fourth consecutive year, Advocate Aurora’s Grafton surgical team collected essential bedding supplies, including sheets, comforters, blankets and slippers, for struggling families ahead of the holidays. This donation also made a big difference in the lives of families forced out of their homes due to domestic violence as they start a new life. UWNO distributed those donations to five local nonprofits in December.

Grafton-based nonprofit Balance Inc. and Miller Coors employees teamed up to keep Ozaukee County families warm this winter too. Volunteers made 50 fleece blankets that have been distributed to clients of several Ozaukee County nonprofits. The group also used fleece scraps from the blankets to craft dog and cat toys for pets at the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Ozaukee campus in Saukville.

This community spirit builds a strong, thriving community and provides hope and a sense of possibility for the new year.

UWNO and its partner agencies have year-round opportunities for corporate or group donation drives and volunteer projects. Go to uwno@sbcglobal.net for more information.

Barbara Bates-Nelson
Executive director
United Way of Northern Ozaukee
Port Washington


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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