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Focus Yule Feed food drive ends on high note

$10,000 donation comes in at end

Dec. 26, 2012

Angels really do exist. After we sent out a plea to help make our 2012 Yule Feed Families food drive a success , a miracle happened. The Focus received a $10,000 donation from a local family that asked to remain anonymous. The family graciously said they would like the donation to go toward the Oconomowoc Food Pantry's ongoing operating expenses.

Our 2012 Yule Feed drive sat at a little over $2,000 at this time last week, a far cry from the $5,000 we achieved last year. So we sent out a plea on behalf of the food pantry that continues to help increasing numbers in need, and it was answered. Our hearts are overflowing with the holiday spirit felt this past week.

Along with the anonymous $10,000 donation, we also received $680 more in anonymous donations from a group of individuals. And it didn't stop there - we also received donations from Thomas Schneider, Dennis and Jean Krause, Richard and Floss Whalen and the Jon Lestina Co., totaling another $255. Every bit of it will go to help the Oconomowoc Area Food Pantry whose need does not go away after the holiday season . The Yule Feed Families food drive sets out each year to help inspire others to donate to the pantry by matching 70 cents per dollar donated and 40 cents per food item donated up to a $500 cap. We always seek to beat last year's total, and this year, we did. The grand total for the 2012 drive is $15,528 and 149 food items.

We were not able to reach anyone from the pantry to comment on the exciting news before press time, but we know they will be thrilled to receive your generous donations. In November, Lake Country Publications helped paint a picture of the local poverty that many said they were surprised to see. It was reported that 20,894 Waukesha County residents are living in poverty according to the 2010 census compared to the 9,635 reported living in poverty in 2000.

Oconomowoc Food Pantry organizer Bill Jackson said the pantry serves an average of more than 300 families each month which equates to more than 1,000 individuals. Jackson said November and December are the months of the highest need. He said local families seeking assistance has increased by about 6 percent every year. Unfortunately, Jackson continues to report that numbers are on the rise at the pantry. In early December, he said the pantry served 375 families - the highest number the pantry saw all year.

Thank you for caring about your community and answering our call for help. With these donations, the pantry is off to a good start helping your neighbors in need.

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Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: Nov. 27-30, Dec. 5-31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details. $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van. www.thecountrychristmas.com

 World’s Greatest Cookie Sale: Noon-4 p.m.  Nov. 28, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Sale features homemade holiday cookies and baked goods in many varieties. Entertainment includes magic shows, cookie and cupcake decorating, face painting, holiday coloring contest and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Sale ends at 4 p.m. For more information on the World’s Greatest Cookie Sale, call Country Springs, (262) 547-0201 or visit thecountrychristmas.com/cookiesale. Free.

 German Christmas Market: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 28, 29 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30, Downtown Oconomowoc, 100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Celebrate Wisconsin’s heritage at this family festival that features heated tents, German beer, music, live bands, authentic German food, vendors, Santa and more. Free http://www.germanchristmasmarket.org. 

 Oconomowoc Winter Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 30, Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center, County Road K, Oconomowoc. Features local seasonally grown produce and artisan food products.  www.oconomowoc.org.

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