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Donations nearly doubled for Sussex Lions annual Christmas meal drive

Community's generosity nearly doubles to help pantry

Dec. 18, 2012

"It was something else. I've never seen checks this big," said an ecstatic Sussex Lions Club member John Haunfelder on Monday after the club's weekend food drive to benefit the Sussex Food Pantry.

The Lions set up at the Sussex Pick 'n Save and Piggly Wiggly on Saturday and Sunday, seeking donations to provide more than 200 Christmas meals to families in need that were delivered last week. Haunfelder said he was blown away by the generosity of the community. The Lions received $4,900 in donations during the club's two-day drive.

"Lots of businesses donated, bringing checks (and) saying they chose to do this instead of an office gift exchange. And now other businesses have created a challenge, seeing which one can donate the most next year," said Haunfelder.

The outreach for Sussex Area Outreach Services, which runs the pantry and also provides energy, rent and other assistance to those in need, couldn't have come at a better time. Executive Director Jennifer Waltz said last week that the pantry had already surpassed the number of clients it served last November. She anticipates the pantry serving around 1,000 more individuals in 2012.

This year 250 people signed up for Christmas meals that are put together by the pantry and Lions. The Sussex Sun also joins the effort to help raise awareness and support for the pantry through its annual Yule Feed Families food drive. The Sun encourages contributions through the drive by matching 70 cents per dollar donated and 40 cents per food item up to a $500 cap.

The food drive celebrated a great week of giving last week as individuals stepped up, donating $1,900. Team that with the Sun's match, and $2,050 was donated to the drive last week.

This week we celebrate some more generosity, as Ronald and Gretchen Schanz contributed $100 to the drive; thank you for your donation. That brings the drive total to $2,150 to benefit the food pantry.

And Haunfelder was still celebrating the large way the community stepped out this weekend. He said the $4,900 donated this weekend, nearly doubling last year's amount of $2,672.

"It's been amazing. We are way, way up with our food donations. We've had some amazing drives," said Waltz. She said beyond the food provided, the pantry was also able to use the funds to purchase Christmas gifts for pantry families. "We had a fantastic Christmas distribution. We were able to give kids a decent amount of gifts, gift cards for teens and we even had movie tickets this year," Waltz said.

The Sussex Lions and Sussex Sun thank each one who donated for reaching out to help your neighbors in need. If you read this and are inspired by the help seen in your community, there's still a chance to help.

The Sussex Sun Yule Feed Families food drive ends at 5 p.m. Thursday. You can send donations directly to the Sussex Sun at 810 Cardinal Lane, Suite 210, Hartland, WI 53029 or drop them off during normal business hours. Please make checks out to the Sussex Food Pantry.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Lake Country Players present “The Diary of Anne Frank”: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. $13 - $18 (262) 367-4697, www.lakecountryplayhouse.net.

Cottonwood Wayside Nature and Education Center Grand Opening: 5-7 p.m. Oct. 4, Cottonwood Wayside Nature and Education Center, 901 Cottonwood Ave., Hartland. Features the new chimney which will be home to more than 1,000 displaced chimney swift birds. Event also includes face painting, nature scavenger hunt, games and more. Hot dogs, chips and soda will be available for purchase.

Indian Summer: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 3; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5, Ashippun Town Hall, Highway P and Highway O, Ashippun. Buckskinner encampment, tepee tours,wigwams, Native American drummers and dancers, Highlanders Voyageur Camp plus Revolutionary, Civil and Spanish-American War camps. Free admission. (920) 474-4619 http://www.ashipppun.com.

Dark Carnival: 7-10:30 p.m. Oct. 4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 31, Enterprise Building, 212 Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Formerly Haunted High, exhibit features more than 70 volunteers creating 50 specters and zombies plus special effects, lighting and sounds. $15, $23 fast pass. Open 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 for kids 5-12 ($5) with lighted displays and treats along the way.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

All weekend happenings.