Dec 18, 2021
NIAGARA, Wis. — Each year at this time I find myself very thankful for simple things: a roof over my head as it is snowing outside, food on the table, good health, friends and family, and time to enjoy and appreciate life. My thoughts turn more often to those not as fortunate as I am; specifically, to the homeless and those who suffer from housing insufficiency.
Last week I talked about the importance of building traditions. How does one form traditions when something as basic as adequate shelter is lacking? And why does the problem of homelessness still exist in our country with its reputation for plenty? How can we best help solve what seems to be a growing challenge, and why is it a problem that persists?
First, I think our country needs a bit of an attitude adjustment. Too many of us are too quick to pass judgment on a situation we fail to fully comprehend or appreciate. We consider homelessness to be a failure on the part of the individual homeless person; we do not pause to even consider it as a failure of our society as a whole.
There are so many reasons why people — and entire families — find themselves sleeping in their cars or on the street in makeshift shelters. The gentrification of neighborhoods has sent housing costs out of reach for many in our country.
Lack of affordable senior housing, the loss of publicly funded mental health services that once existed decades ago, and the need for parents to work multiple jobs to cover expenses in combination with the inability to afford child care all contribute to homelessness. This issue is much more complex than simply approaching it with the attitude that “I found a way to support myself so why can’t they? ‘They’ are not my problem.”
I recently saw a segment on “CBS Sunday Morning” that addressed the problem of homelessness through the lens of two retired police officers who decided to do what they could to help. Throughout their working years, they’d had a great deal of experience with the consequences of homelessness in young people. Lacking adequate shelter, they were also missing the very basic lessons learned in a stable home environment, which included the traits that were needed to hold down a job.
The retired officer being interviewed was quick to point out that the kids were not lazy. They simply did not know how to apply for a job, how to dress for an interview, how to show up on time, or how to work as part of a team. Why? Because when a person is homeless, all of their energies every waking moment of each day are consumed with basic survival — food, shelter and safety.
The officers started a car detailing business to employ homeless youth and get them started on a path to a better life. Think how perfect that is for kids who come from this difficult background. They have to focus on the details, which is what this job requires most of all. And they learn to work together to get the job done.
Finally, they see the results of their teamwork immediately; instant gratification from a job well done. The immediate reward is the self-pride that comes from being able to see the positive results that one’s efforts helped to create. Concentration on details that is part and parcel of this kind of work pays off in other areas of one’s life. The program has been very successful. These young people eventually gain the confidence needed to move on to better and higher paying jobs; they have become self-sustaining, contributing members of society.
Granted, we all cannot start businesses like the officers in this news feature. But we can do our part by making donations to the many initiatives that surface this time of year. Stock your purse or wallet with singles so you can easily contribute to the bell-ringing red bucket brigades that greet you at local grocery stores.
Contribute gently used winter jackets and sweaters to clothing drives. Support Habitat for Humanity through donations of gently used items for resale in their ReStore or make monetary donations directly to them. Currently, because building materials cost so much, they are concentrating their efforts on repairing existing homes and report that more living conditions than any of us realize are way below what we would consider comfortable.
And donate to the many local food pantries either through local churches or the Salvation Army. I recently received, via a Facebook post, the following tips on appropriate food bank contributions. The following suggestions came from the food pantry shoppers themselves and give good guidance to those who want to make a difference.
— Donations of Kraft macaroni and cheese in the box can rarely be used because this item requires milk and butter, which are not readily available at food banks.
— Boxed milk is highly valued as it only takes water to mix into something useable. And kids use it for cereal which is donated frequently.
— Pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles are popular.
— Canned veggies and soup are appreciated but cannot be used unless a can opener is included — or purchase pop top cans.
— Oil is a luxury but needed for Rice-a-Roni which is donated a lot.
— Sugar and flour are treats.
— Fresh produce donated by grocery stores and farmers is greatly appreciated.
— Seeds are appreciated in the spring and summer because growing can be easy for some.
— Fresh meat is rarely donated.
— Tuna and crackers make a good lunch.
— Hamburger Helper needs ground beef.
— Many donate peanut butter and jelly, but few think of sandwich bread to go with it.
— Butter or margarine is greatly appreciated.
— Eggs are versatile and nutritious.
— Cake mix and frosting make it possible to bake a child’s birthday cake.
— Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and greatly appreciated.
— Feminine hygiene products are a luxury few can afford.
— Everyone loves stove top stuffing.
So, as you decorate your tree, wrap those gifts, cook those special holiday meals, and bake those treats, take a minute first to be grateful for your ability to afford those traditions and to have created them in your home. Then pull together some groceries and some warm clothes to donate to those who are struggling.
Bless you all, and Merry Christmas.
NURSING HOMES / SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES
Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community
Freeman’s has resumed small group activities. Visitation is currently being allowed twice weekly with screening and COVID-19 testing required before entering the building. All precautions are still being taken to protect residents. Everyone has adjusted to this new normal; however, they are all looking forward to a great get-together when it is safe to do so.
Iron County Medical Care Facility
Sunday: Room visits, 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; trivia teasers, 10 a.m.; chair exercise, 11 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.
Monday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.
Tuesday: Book Club, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass video, 10 a.m.; old-fashioned sing-along with eggnog, 2 p.m.; holiday movie, 6 p.m.
Wednesday: Coffee social/animal kingdom, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; getting pretty, 1:15 p.m.; men’s club, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.
Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; church video, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.
Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; reindeer bingo, 2 p.m.; holiday movie, 6 p.m.
Saturday: Word search/Christmas reminisce, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.
ProMedica (formerly ManorCare)
Limited visitation has resumed for family and friends. Appointments must be made in advance by calling the center.
Church services are five days each week. Note that scheduled visits are in the front living room or outdoors and are by appointment only. Daily scheduled activities continue to be for residents only.
Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; coffee and short stories, 10:30 a.m.; tailgate party, Packers vs. Ravens, 2 p.m.
Monday: Rosary/communion, 8:30 a.m.; Christmas sing-along, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.
Tuesday: Rosary/communion, 8:30 a.m.; hot cocoa and book club, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.
Wednesday: Rosary/communion, 8:30 a.m.; music and dance, 10:15 a.m.; Christmas party, 2 p.m.
Thursday: Rosary/communion, 8:30 a.m.; Uno, 10:15 a.m.; movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.
Friday: Bowling, 10:15 a.m.; happy hour, entertainment with Jim D., 2 p.m.
Saturday: Protestant service, 10:30 a.m.; tailgate party with Christmas snacks, Packers vs. Browns, 2 p.m.
Golden Living Center
Visitation is allowed in designated areas only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each visit is limited to 30 minutes and must be scheduled in advance. All visitors will be subject to health screening before entering the facility. Residents have resumed some small group activities.
Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Packers vs. Ravens, noon; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.
Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; music with Crystal, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Lutheran Bible study, 1 p.m.; left-center-right, 2 p.m.
Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Saturday: Packers vs. Browns, 3:30 p.m.
Sunday: Bunco, 10:30 a.m.; life stories, 2 p.m.
Monday: Resident council, 10:30 a.m.; crafts, 2 p.m.; karaoke, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.
Tuesday: Bingo, 10:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.
Wednesday: Baking group, 10:30 a.m.; crafts, 2 p.m.; Sorry, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday: Bingo, 10:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.
Friday: Santa visits, 10:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass (multipurpose room), 2 p.m.; games, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.
Now open for dine-in eating — serving at 11:30 a.m. Menu for the week —
Tuesday: Ham, scalloped potatoes, mixed vegetables and coleslaw.
Wednesday: Sausage and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, corn and tomato.
Thursday: Closed, home-delivered meal.
Note: All meals include milk, bread and butter, fruit and dessert.
Now open for dine-in eating — serving at noon. Night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals also are available. Soup and salad bar are also available. Menu for the week —
Monday: Spaghetti and meat sauce, garlic bread and green beans.
Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo, noodles and California blend vegetables.
Wednesday: Open-face turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes and gravy and carrots.
Thursday: Rigatoni with meatballs and chef’s choice vegetables.
Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.
Crystal Falls Center
Head cook: Sterling Peryam; Assistant cook: Rocky Scarlassara
The center is now open and is once again serving meals for dine in or take out — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or to place your order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include salad bar, homemade desserts, coffee, tea, or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m.; call ahead and leave a message with phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only. Menu for the week —
Tuesday: Roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, salad bar and homemade dessert.
Wednesday: Chili, cornbread, vegetables, salad bar and homemade dessert.
Crystal Lake Center
906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235.
Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements. Menu for the week —
Monday: Goulash, green beans and dinner roll.
Tuesday: Italian sausage, soup, spinach side salad with dressing and yogurt.
Wednesday: Beef ravioli with marinara sauce, Italian blend vegetables, breadstick and pears.
Thursday: Barbecue chicken sandwich, spiced applesauce, peas and carrots.
Friday: Brown sugar glazed ham, stuffing, cranberries and Christmas treat (delivered on Dec. 23).
Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage.
For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.
Now open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also are available. Menu for the week —
Monday: Philly cheese sandwich, chips and three-bean salad.
Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and broccoli.
Wednesday: Chicken cordon bleu, potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.
Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.
Director: Tiffany White
Restrictions have lifted at some centers — see below. Menu for the week —
Monday: Meatloaf, black beans and rice, cauliflower and fruit.
Tuesday: Barbecue ribs, parsley potatoes, stewed tomatoes and fruit.
Wednesday: Hot turkey sandwich, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, fruit and gingerbread bars.
Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.
Fence Center/Town Hall
715-336-2980 – RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372.
Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only.
Florence Community Center/Town Hall
RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261.
Same as ADRC menu. Now open — serving at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
Tipler Town Hall
715-674-2320 – RSVP for meals.
Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.
Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora
715-589-4491 – RSVP for meals.
Same as ADRC menu. Now open — serving at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Coordinator: Pam Haluska
Iron River Center
Now open for dine-in eating — serving at 11 a.m., salad bar available. No night meals. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —
Monday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli and roll.
Tuesday: Fish, potato wedges, coleslaw and roll.
Wednesday: Swedish meatballs, noodles, peas and carrots and biscuit.
Thursday: Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and roll.
All meals served with milk or juice and a serving of fruit.
Director: Michelle DeSimone
Now open for dine-in eating served restaurant style beginning at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals will remain available for pickup from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know if you are dining in or picking up. Menu for the week —
Monday: Cabbage roll casserole, biscuit and sugar snap peas.
Tuesday: Christmas dinner: Ham, mashed potatoes and gravy and glazed carrots.
Wednesday: Fish patty on a bun, macaroni and cheese and glazed carrots.
Thursday: Bourbon steak over noodles and Italian blend vegetables.
All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.
Now open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —
Tuesday: Shepherd’s pie and green beans.
Wednesday: Baked ham, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables and dinner roll.
All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox
Dear Heloise: For many years, I have given my grandchildren cash for their birthdays, with this caveat: They can …
IRON MOUNTAIN — The Dickinson County Library will host a Countdown to Noon from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Friday, …
KINGSFORD — Grace Baptist Church, at 1295 Pyle Dr., will hosts Christmas Singspiration beginning at 6 p.m. …
Dear Annie: My middle-aged confirmed bachelor brother-in-law is a frequent and welcome dinner guest at our house. …
Dear Annie: My wife is borderline addicted to “Words With Friends” (an app game similar to Scrabble), and …
IRON MOUNTAIN — The Uren-Cooper-Johnson American Legion Post 50 of Iron Mountain will host a monthly cribbage …
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox