Love Life Ministry: 1 Young Mom’s Vision to Preserve Her Heritage

Joann Vaile and other Love Life Ministry volunteers provide childcare items to families that are struggling financially
Joann Vaile and other Love Life Ministry volunteers provide childcare items to families that are struggling financially. The organization gives out diapers, formula, clothing, baby furniture, and other baby items.

Article by Pat Erdmann, Love Life Ministry volunteer | Photo by Timothy Mayer Artworks
At Love Life Ministry, we are so fortunate to meet so many wonderful young moms. It’s so rewarding to know that, with the support of our community, we can help them when help is needed.

Layette, Diapers, Formula & Baby Items

I’m a Love Life Ministry volunteer, and recently, I had a really nice conversation with one of our clients when she came in to register her new baby. On this visit to Love Life Ministry in Green Bay, we were able to help her out with diapers and formula for the month. A month earlier, she had received a layette for the baby. A layette includes knitted or crocheted blankets, quilts, and receiving blankets donated by compassionate and talented craftsman. She also received sleepers, onesies, bibs, burp clothes and other baby items needed to get started.

A Young Mom’s Vision for Her Child

The young mom and I got into a conversation about the baby’s name which was a native Menominee Indian name. We talked about preserving the language and being able to teach our children their heritage and culture.

Independent, Working Mom

As she was leaving, she told me she may not need to come back to Love Life Ministry too often because she was going to return to work soon, and she enjoyed being independent. I reminded her that we would be here for her whenever she needed us and wished her well with her new baby.

3 Goals of Love Life Ministry

We have three goals at Love Life Ministry, Green Bay, and we recently met all three goals when serving this young mom.

  1. Assist struggling families in the Green Bay area with meeting the basic needs of their newborns. – The mother left Love Life Ministry with the layette, diapers, baby formula, baby clothes and more.
  2. Provide Christian communities with the opportunity to support new life and demonstrate Gospel values through service and sharing of resources. – Love Life Ministry is an all-volunteer, ecumenical outreach ministry. Green Bay-area churches, community organizations, and individuals provide handmade blankets, baby supplies and funding.
  3. Give clients hope for a brighter future and a positive affirmation of life into our community. – This mother had a positive vision for the future of her child and looked forward to raising the child in the Menominee Indian culture and tradition. She expressed the hope to have the means of supporting herself and her baby.

Donate or Volunteer Today

Every week, Love Life Ministry, Green Bay, supports mothers just like this one. As an all-volunteer, ecumenical outreach ministry, we depend solely on the generosity of the community to sustain our nonprofit organization. Please consider helping low-income families, newborns and children in the Greater Green Bay area. We are in need, right now, of monetary donations to buy diapers, donations of baby items, and volunteers to fulfill our mission.

Truly I tell you, whatever you do for one of the least of these, you do for Me.

– Matthew 25:40

Pantry Offers High School Community Service Opportunities

Bayport High School students earn community service hours at Hope Center Pantry

Students who volunteer at nonprofits like Hope Center Pantry aren’t just helping others. They’re helping themselves! Student volunteers learn valuable skills like accountability, responsibility, and punctuality. They have opportunities to engage with others, some who are much different than themselves. Plus, they gain the satisfaction of personally making an impact on the community.

Earning Community Service Hours

The pantry relies on volunteers to operate, so even short-term volunteerism is appreciated. That’s why Hope Center Pantry was excited to have two Bay Port High School students, Ellie and Olivia, perform community service at the Pantry. Pantry leaders found creative ways to engage these high school students, because the students are in school when the Pantry is open. Pantry hours are 1-3pm Monday-Thursday, and pantry is located on the West Side of Green Bay at 505 Clinton St.

Volunteering Enthusiastically

Ellie and Olivia helped gather and pack the meal kit ingredients for Jackson Elementary and also assembled homemade thank you cards. They were such a huge help, and their enthusiasm is contagious!

Seeking High School Volunteers

f you are a high school student or parent of a high school student who needs community service hours before graduation, please consider volunteering at Hope Center Pantry. Contact us. Let the Hope Center Pantry know:

  • Your availability – we have after-hours projects
  • Your skills and interests
  • What will make your volunteer experience more enjoyable
  • Number of community service hours you need

Contact the Pantry to Volunteer

Since Hope Center Pantry is a nonprofit organization, schools and other organization requiring community service honor pantry volunteer hours. We’re happy to sign your community service form. High school students, contact us today for community service hours at Hope Center Pantry, Green Bay.

Hope Center Partners with Dietician to Bring Healthy Meals to Homeless

sack lunch for homeless at St. John's Ministries

When a Green Bay homeless shelter had a dire need for “to go” meals for its non-sheltered guests, Hope Center Pantry came to their aid. Hope Center Pantry now collaborates with St. John’s Ministries – in Green Bay Wisconsin’s cold weather months (November through April).

Pantry Begins Outreach to Homeless Shelter

To start, Hope Center Pantry directors met with the St. John’s Ministries staff to find ways to use Pantry resources to help non-sheltered guests. Some of St. John’s Ministries’ non-sheltered guests need “to go” meals to eat, but these guests cannot get to Hope Center Pantry to pick up food. Some of the guests work night shifts and need a mid-shift meal at work. Additionally, for various reasons, St. John Ministries occasionally tuns away people experiencing homelessness. However, St. John Ministries still tries to provide these individuals with a nutritious meal to take with them. So, Hope Center Pantry started a community outreach program with St. John’s Ministries in December 2021.

Dietician-Inspired ‘To Go’ Meals

Here’s what happened. Hope Center Pantry worked with a registered dietician to develop a variety of meal options. Guided by the dietician, Hope Center Pantry developed “to go” meals with three important characteristics:

  1. All of the food had to be shelf stable and need no refrigeration.
  2. The majority of the meals could not require heating.
  3. All of the foods had to be easy to chew. Many of the meal recipients experience pain associated with chewing hard foods (e.g., no beef jerky).

100 Sack Lunches for the Hungry in Green Bay

Hope Center Pantry initially provided 50 meals to the homeless shelter, and that quickly grew to 100 “to go” meals each month. A typical “to go” sack lunch contains protein, fruit, carbs and a healthy granola bar, along with a drink mix packet.

Students & Volunteers Pack ‘To Go’ Meals

High school students that need community service hours and Hope Center Pantry volunteers assemble these meals. The case managers at St. John Ministries distribute the Hope Center Pantry flyer to guests who can drive to the pantry. Hope Center Pantry is open from 1-3pm Monday – Thursday at 505 Clinton St., Green Bay.

Breakfast for St. John’s Ministries

In addition to the “to go” meals, St. John’s Ministries homeless shelter needed high protein breakfast food. Hope Center Pantry committed to providing 144 eggs (12 dozen) every month. The homeless shelter staff boils the eggs and provides them to their guests. Additionally, Hope Center Pantry donated 1,200 paper plates, 300 paper bowls, and 600 Styrofoam cups which was a crucial need for St. John’s Homeless Shelter to feed their guests. St. John’s Ministries homeless shelter and Hope Center Pantry formed a perfect partnership, working together to best serve the underprivileged in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Help us Bring Healthy Meals to the Homeless

As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, Hope Center Pantry looks for ways to collaborate with other Green Bay-area nonprofits. Together, we can make a lasting impact on people in need. Please consider donating food, time, or financial resources to Hope Center Pantry, a Green Bay, Wisconsin, Catholic outreach organization. Contact us to learn more.

The mission of the Hope Center is to serve and guide those who are in need. It is our responsibility to empower and support others.

Mission statement

Something to Smile About, Thanks to Brodhagen & Kids Dental Experts

Kids Dental Experts logo

Hope Center Pantry gave Green Bay-area residents something to smile about, thanks two Brown County, Wisconsin, dental offices. When the Hope Center Pantry ran incredibly low on toothbrushes, a pantry volunteer contacted Green Bay dentists. As a result, Brodhagen Dental Care of Ashwaubenon and Kids Dental Experts of Green Bay and De Pere donated toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.

Dental Offices Donate to Pantry

Brodhagen Dental Care logo

Hope Center Pantry is so grateful for these donations of nonfood items from these two local dentists. The Hope Center Pantry clients received these oral hygiene items as bonus items, in addition to the traditional food items they received.

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Dental Floss

Dental hygiene is so important because the health of the teeth and gums impacts an individual’s overall health, medical costs, and quality of life. Proper oral hygiene includes daily brushing and flossing to maintain the health of the teeth and gums. Good oral health enables a person to speak, smile, smell, eat and communicate more easily. Poor oral health can lead to serious consequences. Individuals without access to toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss can experience mouth pain and discomfort. Ultimately, they may end up suffering from costly health conditions.

Thanks, Brodhagen & Kids Dental Experts

Hope Center Pantry loves to see clients smiling! Donations from Brodhagen Dental Care of Ashwaubenon and Kids Dental Experts of Green Bay and De Pere help to make smiles possible.

Donate Food & Non-food Items to Pantry

How can your business or nonprofit organization put smiles on the faces of those in need in Green Bay and Brown County, Wisconsin? The Pantry accepts food and non-food donations alike. Here is a Wish List of Hope Center Pantry’s current needs.

A Bright Idea: Focus on Energy’s LEDs help Pantry Families Save Energy

light bulb box from Focus on Energy donation to Hope Center Pantry

Hope Center Pantry found a bright way to help Green Bay, Wisconsin, families stretch their budgets a little farther. Focus on Energy donated several shipments of 60-watt LED light bulbs to Hope Center Pantry, through a Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distribution. Residential LED light bulbs use approximately 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last approximately 25% longer. So, think of the money families will save on their electric bills by burning these energy efficient LED bulbs.

A Gift for Tough Economic Times

“We know in these tough economic times it’s important to help our neighbors,” said a Focus on Energy representative. Focus on Energy offers rebates and incentives for energy-saving projects and products. Smart energy decisions, like installing LED light bulbs in homes and businesses in Wisconsin, yield enduring economic benefits.

Pantry Thanks Focus on Energy

Hope Center Pantry, Green Bay, greatly appreciates Focus on Energy’s donation. The pantry’s clients were so grateful to receive the light bulbs. The gift of LED light bulbs helps families stretch their budgets and hopefully, direct the savings to put a meal on the table.

Donate a Food or Non-Food Item Today

How can your business or nonprofit organization shine light on those in need in Green Bay and Brown County, Wisconsin? The Pantry accepts food and non-food donations alike. Here is a Wish List of Hope Center Pantry’s current needs.

Not So Cumbersome: Bellin Health Bags Are Perfect for Singles

Bellin Health cinch Bags donated to Hope Center Pantry

Hope Center Pantry volunteers are wizards at implementing solutions to food distribution issues. For example, the pantry considered different ways to make it easier for individuals to carry bags when they walk or bike to Hope Center Pantry. Have you ever tried to balance a paper grocery bag filled with food on a bike? It’s a challenge! Plus, grocery bags become quite heavy to carry even a short distance. Paper grocery bags are cumbersome to transport and if their handles tear, they’re even more cumbersome.

Donation from Bellin Health

Acknowledging the challenges of paper bags for food transportation, Hope Center Pantry contacted the folks that organize the Bellin Run and other races. The Bellin Run is a 10K race held the second Saturday in June that attracts more than 10,000 walkers, runners, and wheelchair participants. Bellin Health and the Green Bay Packers formed a partnership in 2012 to create Titletown Wellness. In addition to organizing the Bellin Run, Titletown Wellness hosts other running events in the spring and fall. So, when we contacted Bellin about donating bags for groceries, they provided over 300 cinch bags that were left over from the Bellin Women’s Half Marathon. Bellin Health consistently comes through to support community needs, and Hope Center Pantry is thankful for the health system’s generosity.

Durable, Reusable Singles Bags for Food

The Bellin Health cinch bags work great for packing “singles bags.” A singles bag is just what it sounds like. It is packed with food amounts for our clients that only have one person in their household.
The bags are durable and can easy to carry like a backpack, which is especially beneficial for clients who walk or ride their bike to collect their food from Hope Center Pantry. It is an understatement to say that these sturdy bags are an immense improvement over paper bags. As an added bonus, clients can reuse these bags for other purposes.

The Pantry is always in need of donations. View our Wish List for ideas today.

Pioneer Metal Finishing’s 2-Fold Gift: Food Drive & Professional Flier

Pioneer Metal Finishing

Download the Hope Center Pantry Flier

In a technology-driven world, you wouldn’t think that a printed brochure would be of much use. Yet Hope Center Pantry finds great value in its professional flier and the relationships the pantry built when developing the flier.

2 Donations from Pioneer Metal Finishing

Hope Center Pantry partnered with Pioneer Metal Finishing to produce the professional flier. Pioneer Metal Finishing is a Green Bay, Wisconsin-based custom metal finishing company with 11 facilities in the U.S. and Mexico. A Pioneer Metal Finishing employee created the flier on behalf of Hope Center Pantry. The Pioneer Metal Finishing team was so impressed with Hope Center Pantry’s professionalism and how quickly the Pantry published the brochure on its website. In fact, Pioneer Metal Finishing donated its company’s December 2021 collection of nonperishable food to Hope Center Pantry. The pantry is so grateful for both charitable gestures.

Pantry Brochure Printed in English & Spanish

Because Northeast Wisconsin is home to many Hispanic families, Hope Center Pantry wanted to publish the brochure in both English and Spanish. Hope Center Pantry worked with the Green Bay Area Public School District staff to translate the English text to Spanish. This is just another example of a mutually beneficial relationship sustained by Hope Center Pantry. Read how Hope Center Pantry provides family meal kits to help parents who struggle to feed their kids.

Outreach to Green Bay & Brown County WI

Hope Center Pantry distributes the flier to:

Sponsor a Corporate Food Drive

The brochure concisely communicates information about Hope Center Pantry services, hours of operation, and eligibility requirements. Additionally, the flier sends the message that the pantry is professional, forward-looking nonprofit organization. Hope Center Pantry is grateful to Pioneer Metal Finishing for its generosity and encourages other Green Bay corporations to follow suit. Please consider sponsoring a corporate food drive or contributing to the pantry in some other way. Here is our Wish List of current needs.

What a Joy to See! Gift Bags Bring Extra Smiles

Gift bag from Feeding America given to clients.
Gift bag from Feeding America given to clients.

Volunteering at Hope Center Pantry is so rewarding, but a couple of experiences really make volunteering worthwhile. We wish everyone could experience the joy that a Christmas-time gift bag brought to our female clients. In December 2021 we gave 45 gift bags to our female clients. These were nicely boxed gift sets of pump body lotion and soap that we received for free from Feeding America. The clients were so appreciative that it really made us feel good about the work we do at the pantry.

Christmas & Birthday Gift Bags

Christmas only comes once a year, and the same goes for birthdays. You should see a child’s face light up when they see a birthday bag included with their family’s food. It’s priceless! Two Green Bay soccer teams made it possible. The high school girls’ soccer teams kicked it up a notch with their Hope Center Pantry donation! Girls from the Notre Dame Academy and Southwest High School girls’ soccer teams filled 101 birthday bags and donated them to Hope Center Pantry.

Birthday gift bags donated to Hope Center Pantry from high school soccer teams.
Birthday gift bags donated to Hope Center Pantry from high school soccer teams.

101 Cake Mixes, Frosting, Candles & Gifts

Each bag contained a cake mix, frosting, candles and an age-appropriate gift. Panty volunteers distribute the birthday gift bags to families with children age 10 and under for their birthday month. The clients were thrilled to have these items to make their child’s birthday feel more special.

Making Birthdays Extra Special

As a nice addition to the birthday bags, Hope Center Pantry gives each child a Beanie Baby. A generous pantry supporter donated a bunch of Beanie Babies to the pantry. When volunteers grab a gift bag for a child, they also grab one of these Beanie Babies to add to the bag. It makes their birthday extra special!

Turkey Time: Pantry Donates to 122 Thanksgiving Day Meals

Thanksgiving Day turkeys were given to clients at Hope Center Pantry

What’s a Thanksgiving Day feast in Wisconsin without turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie? Hope Center Pantry, Green Bay, Wisconsin, didn’t want its clients to go without the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal because they lacked financial resources. According to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the average cost of a Thanksgiving Day meal for 10 people in 2021 was $53.31. Unfortunately, that’s beyond the means of many residents of Brown County, Wisconsin. So, in November of 2021, Hope Center Pantry used monetary donations collected from generous pantry patrons to purchase a variety of turkey options for clients’ Thanksgiving Day meals.

Helping Families Celebrate Thanksgiving Day

Hope Center Pantry purchased frozen whole turkeys (10-16 pounds), 3-pound frozen turkey breasts, and 2-pound turkey hams (similar to a deli meat). Then, Hope Center Pantry distributed the turkeys to clients in November. The pantry’s clients were taken aback by this additional meat item. They were so grateful they could celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal with their families. In total, Hope Center Pantry contributed Thanksgiving Day food for 122 meals.

Giving Away Turkeys & All the Fixings

In addition to turkey, Hope Center Pantry gave clients several other Thanksgiving Day foods which pantry volunteers had collected throughout 2021. Hope Center Pantry clients received turkey, pumpkin, cranberries, evaporated milk, stuffing mix, gravy, and sweet potatoes. Hope Center Pantry’s Thanksgiving Day meal distribution:

  • 67 whole turkeys
  • 28 turkey breasts
  • 27 turkey hams

Accepting Monetary Donations & Nonperishables

Spending time with family and friends around the table remains an important Thanksgiving Day tradition for many Wisconsinites. Hope Center Pantry is pleased to provide food for the feast. To help the pantry fill plates at the next Thanksgiving, please drop off monetary donations and nonperishable food from 1-3pm Monday – Thursday at the pantry, 505 Clinton St., Green Bay.

Donations Matter: New Laptop Computer Now Supporting Pantry’s Mission

a laptop computer  the Hope Center Pantry uses for a database.
McMahon Associates, an engineering company in Neenah, donated a laptop computer to the Hope Center Pantry to use for a database.

Our sincere thanks to McMahon Associates, an engineering company in Neenah, for the donation of a laptop computer to the Hope Center Pantry to use for our database. Why would a Neenah company located 35 miles from Green Bay donate to the Hope Center Pantry? Because Chris Clemens was a McMahon Associates employee for over 35 years. Chris and Janice Clemens are the current Hope Center Pantry directors. While working for McMahon Associates, Chris noticed that the company provided generous donations to nonprofit organizations in Northeast Wisconsin.

Donation from McMahon Associates

Matt Greely, Executive President of McMahon Associates, said the company was happy to help Hope Center Pantry fulfill its mission. The mission of Hope Center is to serve and guide those who are in need. It is our responsibility to empower and support others.

How the Pantry Uses the Computer Database

The donated computer syncs with the internet so database backups are done automatically. Additionally, Hope Center Pantry converted the database from Works to Excel. The pantry prepared all of the new documentation and trained volunteers in database entry. Lastly, the pantry worked with reporting genius to update all of the end-of-month/quarter reports using the new database. These reports produce the numbers that the pantry submits periodically to Feeding America and the Brown County Food and Hunger Network. Both of these organizations provide a large amount of the food that the Hope Center Pantry distributes to clients.

Improving Pantry Operations & Effectiveness

The panty also distributes the reports to the Hope Center Board, to keep the board up-to-date on the pantry’s client base. The panty also uses information from the database to apply for grants. Recently, the pantry started collecting an additional piece of data, using the new database. The pantry collects the email address of each client. Thus, the panty can notify clients about updates and forward information to them that might be beneficial.

Be a Donor, Like McMahon Associates

Bringing all of the pantry’s data up to current technology was a huge undertaking that is so beneficial to pantry operations. We truly appreciate donors like McMahon Associates, Neenah. If your company would like to make a donation to the Hope Center Pantry, please visit How You Can Help

3 Ways You Can Help Hope Center Pantry

  1. Select Food or Personal Care Items from the Wish List
  2. Drop off a Donation at a Catholic Church on the West Side of Green Bay
  3. Become a Volunteer, 1-3pm Monday – Thursday

“Thanks to Janice and Chris Clemens for your service to the community. You guys are awesome!”

Matt Greely, Executive President of McMahon Associates