This morning when I arrived for work, I watched as a gentleman with a disability arrived for his appointment via Madison Metro Plus.  Due to the condition of the driveway, the driver was careful to park his vehicle so that the man could easily exit and walk into the building without falling on the uneven surface, which is filled with cracks and bumps.  He spotted his walk into the building because of the high probability of tripping.

Had the parking lot been full, it would have been even more challenging for him to enter our building safely.

We are just $275,000 away from the $1.4 million goal in our Building Hope, Strengthening Communities campaign (wow, thank you!)  That $275,000 is needed, in part, to resurface the very unsafe parking lot.  

Please consider an investment in the health and stability of our community.  To learn more, visit

Achieving a Dream

by Laurie Horton, Case Manager

When I first met Anna in 2012 she was a single mother of three kids, living in low-income housing, taking college classes, and trying to make ends meet on almost nothing.  Her fortitude was nothing short of incredible.  She impressed me with her determination and strength of character.  I recall her telling me that friends made fun of her rusty old car, but she told them she had dreams she was working to achieve, and the car would have to wait.

By 2014, Anna had obtained an associate’s degree, a result of her unwillingness to give up despite the obstacles.  Despite her achievement, she was still struggling to find a professional job; working at whatever job she could get.  MOM continued to provide the support of food, clothing, and occasional financial assistance while she balanced all of the needs of her family.

Fast forward to today:  Anna recently married her long-time beau and now they are a household of five.  Both she and her husband are working full time.  Since combining households they have lost all their Food Share Benefits and housing subsidy and no longer qualify for financial assistance from MOM.  But together, they are afloat and still dream big.   Anna is reassured to know that if she has an emergency need for food, she can always find food – and hope – at MOM.  She knows her family will never be hungry.  And I am encouraged that sometimes dreams do come true.

Youth Volunteer Camp for Middle School Youth

Youth Service Camp

Youth can make a difference in our community!  Meet new people, lend a helping hand through Middleton Outreach Ministry, build self-esteem, and gain a better understanding of our community and make an impact on citizens in our community.

Each day participants will also enjoy recreational activities like swimming, bowling, and visits to local parks. Program is open to a maximum of 9 participants per session.   To register, visit the City of Middleton website.


This camp is a collaboration between the City of Middleton Public Lands, Recreation and Forestry department and the MOM Squad program at Middleton Outreach Ministry.


Preventing Homelessness

You are making a difference in the lives of children.

FACT:  Hunger and the threat of homelessness affect all aspects of a child’s life. Research demonstrates that adverse experiences early in life can have lifelong, negative consequences for physical and mental health and well-being. Economic stability is one of the most important determinants of a child’s well-being  and growing up in an unstable environment associated with poverty, hunger and homelessness, can lead to a future of school failure, unemployment, incarceration, and the continued generational cycle of fragile families.

FACT:  You are their safety net.  The time, talent and resources you, as volunteers and donors, provide to MOM are working hard to strengthen families, help children grow up healthy and reach their full potential.  Because of your generosity, 51,000 individuals received services through MOM’s Food Pantry or food programs last year and, 41% were children. MOM’s efforts to prevent homelessness helped more than 500 families say in their homes thanks to professional case management and programs designed to bridge financial challenges and provide care and hope.

FACT:  James and his wife are both disabled, living on fixed incomes. They have one child still at home, a grandchild living with them and also James’ elderly parents, who require full-time care. Their rented house has high utility bills, and making ends meet is a challenge. In addition to receiving food and clothing from MOM, the family relies on MOM’s annual utility assistance of $150. Sometimes that relatively small amount means all the difference between staying afloat and falling into catastrophe.

“I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this program.  Sometimes you feel that you are alone, but MOM lets you know that you are not.  I hope you never end this wonderful program.”

FACT:  A contribution of $150 will bring the gift of warmth, light and comfort. A gift of any amount is an investment in our families, our children and our future.  Your gift is about so much more than meeting day-to-day needs.  It’s about giving families—individuals, parents and kids— the support they need to make it through today and live with hope for the future.

Please give as generously as you can.   Thank you for your compassion and generosity.


MOM is ready for 2016

 MOM 2015

by Al Ripp, Executive Director

It’s the time of year when I like to look back at what we were able to accomplish together in 2015, and think about what more we can do to make the difference people will need in 2016.

When you add it all up, the numbers can be overwhelming.  Over 1.3 million pounds of food distributed through MOM’s food programs, designed to make sure no one goes to bed hungry and erase the fear experienced wondering where one will get their next meal.  Over 500 families are still in their homes, thanks to case management and stable housing programs designed to bridge financial gaps and provide care and hope.

But what I will remember from 2015 isn’t numbers, it’s stories— and people.

I will remember when a gentleman came over to the office after using the food pantry.  He wanted to tell me his story.  He’d lost his job and couldn’t find enough work to make up for his loss of income.  The fear of not being able to feed his children was gone now that he was using the pantry.

I will remember reading the letter that we feature in our video.  Reading the words, “MOM filled the void left by the absence of others who should have been there but weren’t,” brought a renewed commitment to our work together, thankful for the ongoing support you give.

And I will remember you.  I’ll remember your food drives, your gifts, your compassion for people, and your interest in finding ways that you can make a difference.  Our organization exists to prevent homelessness and end hunger,but it’s really you who is making that work possible.

I am so thankful that I get to see firsthand how the generosity of our community prevented homelessness and ended hunger through your financial donations, program support, and volunteerism.  I can’t thank you enough for your generosity and care.

MOM is ready for 2016.  

  • We will explore new ways to better understand the needs of those we serve.  From redefining how we evaluate our programs to finding better ways to measure our outcomes, our goal is to care and give help with dignity.  We want to understand those we serve even better so we can find the best ways to assist.
  • We are looking at even more collaborations.  In 2015, we were able to expand our reach by partnering with Joining Forces for Families, the Middleton Public Library, and Total Care Dental, among others.   With so many people in our community doing good, together we can share resources and strengthen our missions.
  • We are committed to helping you connect your interest in changing your community for the better with tangible, hands-on opportunities.

We can only continue our mission and our work with your help, because you are MOM.  If you are able,  please consider a year end gift, so that we can continue to prevent homelessness in our community.  Your generosity changes the lives for real people every day.

You can learn more about our work this year in this short video.  Please share it with a friend.

Thank you.


Al Ripp, MOM Executive Director


Preventing Homelessness– together, with you!

Preventing Homelessness

Dear Friend,

It’s the time of year when I look back on the people that I’ve been fortunate to work with throughout 2015.

I think about the woman who decided to leave her abusive partner and came with her son to live in the Madison area. Because of your generosity, MOM was able to assist her by providing part of her security deposit. With the addition of food and clothing and ongoing case management, her family had they support they needed to stabilize and start a new life.

I think about the hundreds of children who, through the generous support of people like you, received new backpacks filled to the brim with everything they needed to start the school year. I also think about their parents, who were so thankful not to have an extra expense when their budgets were already too tight.

I think about the man, who when he found out his mother was passing away, called me first. He said that he ‘knew that I would know the right things to say.” I think about how MOM feeds not only people’s bodies, but also their spirits.

In 2015, thanks to overwhelming community support and partnerships from individuals, groups, churches, businesses, and families, MOM helped bridge the gap and kept more than 500 families from becoming homeless through our stable housing program.

I saw firsthand how the generosity of our community prevented homelessness through financial donations, program support, and volunteerism. I can’t thank you enough for your generosity and care.

We received an email today from someone who uses MOM’s services. It simply said “Thank you for giving me a better life.”

If you are able, please consider a year end gift, so that we can continue to prevent homelessness in our community. Your generosity changes the lives for real people every day.

You can learn more about our work this year in this short video. Please share it with a friend.

Thank you.

Judy, MOM Case Manager

We’re Ending Hunger– Together, with you.

Ending Hunger, Together

– Cheri Farha, Distribution Center (Food Pantry and Clothing Center) Manager

As 2015 comes to an end, I think back to families who I have gotten to know through my work at the Food Pantry.  I think about people like Charles.

A single father, Charles was working hard and getting by. But then he lost his full-time job and the hours at his part-time job were cut. Charles fell behind on rent and he and his kids faced eviction.

Working with a MOM case worker, Charles was connected to the MOM Food Pantry to access fresh produce, meat and dairy for his family. He received MOM rent payment support and was referred by MOM to other needed community services.  During his time at the Food Pantry, he was always smiling and laughing with the volunteers.  Even though things seemed to have fallen apart, he now had hope for his and his family’s future.

Today, Charles has a steady job and his situation is stabilized.  He wouldn’t have made it to this point without you.

In 2015, MOM distributed 1.3 million pounds of food, thanks to overwhelming community support and partnerships from individuals, groups, churches, businesses, and families.  People who might have otherwise gone hungry had access to dairy, protein, fruit and fresh vegetables often grown in our very own Food Pantry gardens.

I saw firsthand how the generosity of our community ended hunger for Charles and his children, and helped feed and clothe so many more.  I can’t thank you enough for your generosity and care.

If you are able, please consider a year end gift, so that we can continue to operate MOM’s Food Pantry, one of the largest in Dane County.  Your donations help provide snacks for school-aged children who are often too hungry to do their homework, and teach people how to grow their own food in our innovative Food Pantry teaching garden. Your donations allow us to bring food to the elderly and people with disabilities through our Mobile Food Pantry. Your generosity ends hunger for real people.

You can learn more about our work this year in this short video.  Please Share it with a friend.

Charles and his family thanks you.

Santa sighting at Smart Motors

We received this anonymous letter along with a donation yesterday.  The writer asked that we share it with our community, in hopes that the message makes it back to “Santa”.

Xmas Giving

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus – and he was at Smart Motors on December 15
– Anonymous

It was nearing Christmas and my daughter and I finally quit procrastinating and thought we’d get some Christmas shopping in… but first, errands. So we completed our errands when one of our car’s dash-lights lit indicating a problem with the tire. We were near Smart Motors, so I thought we’d just stop by, have it checked, get air in the tire and off we’d go. But that wasn’t to be the case.

We waited in the lounge area, when finally our service advisor returned. He stated that the rear passenger tire was indeed very low on air. They found a huge nail in the tire, so big that the tire could not be repaired and it would need to be replaced.

Well, we’ve had a tough year. I don’t want to go into details, but it was more than this single mom wanted to hear, and all I could say was, “There goes Christmas.” My daughter got wide-eyed and looked at me like, “What?!!” All I could say to her was, “Don’t worry honey, we’ll get a new tire and at least be able to visit Grandma. Just don’t expect anything under the tree.”

Our service advisor nodded. He looked like he’d just told a young child that there is no Santa and went off to get a new tire. I felt bad about my reaction, but my head was spinning with the thought of what else could go wrong this year.

Shortly, the service desk called my name. I started to think about which credit card had room for the tire. As I walked up to the desk, the young lady behind the counter grinned brightly and said “I’ve got good news!” I probably looked totally defeated and said something about “That’s good, because I don’t think I can take any more bad news.”

She handed me the bill. $0 was the total.

Surprised, I looked across the desk with a puzzled look on my face.

“Someone who wishes to remain anonymous paid for our tire!” she burst out, “You’re good to go!”

I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. “Really?” I said in disbelief.

“Really!” she replied. “Your bill is paid!”

I was stunned. With all the bad happening in the world, there just aren’t enough good things. I believe in random acts of kindness, but they just don’t seem to happen to me. Finally I said, “There is a Santa Claus. Please tell this person Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It’s been a very tough year for us. This could not have come at a better time. Thank you.”

Instead of going Christmas shopping, my daughter and I headed home to make dinner. She was a little confused about what had just happened. I did my best to explain and told her it probably had something to do with good Karma. I reminded her about all the things we do to try and help others. They may not be big things, but all those little things add up.

We talked about it some more and decided that we were just given the best Christmas present. The reminder that it’s not about what you get, but what you give. Just be thankful! We don’t need anything under that tree – what we need is the ability to visit loved ones that can’t travel due to health reasons and just spend time with them. And we were also given a gift that would allow us to do that.

We have our health, a home, food and clothing. But there are others who don’t have that. So with that being said, we are paying it forward. Please accept our anonymous donation. This is what we saved for Christmas this year. Use it to help others not as fortunate. What we have received from another anonymous person is truly a gift. Whoever you are, thank you!

A Reflection Back and Focusing Forward

by Al Ripp, Executive Director, MOMCollages2-001

Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) has been serving the area for 35 years. I came to the organization a few years back after having spent my entire career in this community. Yet, I am astounded every day with what I didn’t know about the people and services that are MOM.

MOM’s foundation was built on the compassion of those who wanted to make a difference in the communities where they live. They cared for the well-being of their neighbors whether they were friends, neighbors or total strangers searching out a better life for themselves and their families. Every person that is a part of MOM has a personal story that drives their actions. For some there was a relative or loved one that depended on MOM in their darkest hours and for others it is driven by their faith and the passion for helping others. My own story was molded by the actions of my parents and family members who were always there when someone needed a helping hand.

A donor named Jeff recently shared with us his story:

“At some point after my mom passed away I received a newsletter from MOM asking for help. I thought how fitting it would be to support MOM. Soon after I received a newsletter about a single mother of three who recently learned one of her daughters was terminally ill and had to leave her job to care for her, leaving the family without income. I have no children so there’s no way I could understand what she was going through but thought I could make a difference by giving. I have since read stories of others in need and I am very blessed to play a small role in helping others.”

The most rewarding thing I have experienced at MOM is the new friendships that have been established through volunteering and the joy I witness when people give – the proud kids and parents dropping off the results of a food drive or fund drive, the smile on a gardener’s face when the produce that they grew themselves is delivered to the pantry, and the sincerity of those who find happiness in making a donation or lending a hand. The dedication of the staff, Board and many volunteers that give of their time and talent to make MOM a place of hope and not despair cannot be matched.

Every day I am grounded by the stories of those that we serve and learning how MOM made a significant impact in their lives. To hear how someone was able to make a major life change or to survive during a long trying period of unemployment is powerful. When someone says to me, “MOM saved my family’s life”, I am humbled by the power of compassion and filling simple but vital needs. Each person we serve has their own personal story and we work very hard to treat every person with respect and dignity, free from judgement.

MOM continues to evolve to meet the needs of the community, serving more than 1,400 families each year. In March of 2013, MOM was fortunate to move into a new consolidated facility on Parmenter St., and it’s making an enormous impact on how and what we are able to do for the families we serve. We are one of the largest and most progressive food pantries in Dane County, distributing more than 100,000 pounds of high quality food per month and allowing people to visit as often as they need, truly ending hunger for all those we serve. As one woman told me, “I remember years of empty cupboards and a bare fridge and freezer. I don’t feel depressed from that anymore. I can pay my bills without worrying about feeding my kids.”

MOM also has one of the largest free clothing centers in the area, helping families receive quality clothing for work and school while instilling a sense of pride and dignity. We manage three of our own gardens with the first client/mentor garden in the county, teaching our guests how to grow their own produce while creating a sense of self-worth. We are consistently collaborating with other agencies, businesses and individuals to remove the obstacles that people we serve may face and are always looking for new opportunities. Poverty is a complex issue and it takes innovative solutions to help people get what they need.

There have been many people throughout our 35 years that have laid the groundwork for the success of MOM, but this new site and building have created an opportunity to address even more of the challenges of poverty. MOM is currently in the midst of our first capital campaign in our history and many individuals, businesses and organization have already invested more than $1 million in our future. With just a quarter of our goal left to raise, I would like to invite you to make an investment in the future of our community. Your gift will allow MOM to continue to focus on our mission of preventing homelessness and ending hunger for our neighbors through progressive programs and collaborative partnerships.

Make a donation today.  We’re re-energized and ready for the next 35 years—join us, and together we can prevent homelessness and end hunger for those in need!

2015 Back to School Program underway!

School Supplies

It’s that time of year again. While most families are enjoying summer, staff and volunteers at MOM are hard at work planning for a return to school in the fall. Each year we make it our mission to ensure that children from low income families in our area receive the tools they need to succeed in school; this includes back packs stuffed with grade level supplies for children in Pre-K through high school. We could never pull off such an enormous task without your support.

All summer MOM will be collecting new school supplies and new back packs for this program. We are also accepting cash donations from individuals and businesses that would like to help, but don’t have time the shop.

All supplies are needed and welcomed but we find the greatest needs each year include: extra-large back packs for high school students; dry erase markers; three ring binders (without logos); graph paper; dividers for folders and binders; protractors; compasses; black sharpies; Crayola crayons and pocket folders. We are adding new items this year including pencil tip erasers, plastic sheet covers, scotch tape and 3×3 post it notes.  (Find a printable list on our website)

Our office is set up to accept supplies immediately and all donations of brand new items are welcomed. We are also accepting donations of new and gently used athletic apparel and equipment to help student athletes achieve success with extra-curricular activities. Many talented student athletes are not able to participate in their sport of choice due to lack of affordability. Donations of sporting goods and gently used school supplies can be taken directly to the MOM distribution center. Their hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 am until Noon. Brand new backpacks and school supplies should come directly to the MOM office. We are open Monday – Friday from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and for helping MOM to invest in local children in need!

MOM launches Building Hope, Strengthening Communities Campaign

Preventing homelessness, Ending Hunger.

MOM Capital Campaign ThermometerFor 35 years, Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) has worked tirelessly to address the most critical and basic needs of the Middleton, West Madison and Cross Plains communities. With the help of the community, MOM would like to complete a $1.4M capital campaign in 2015 so that we can continue and expand that work.   The campaign started in the summer of 2013 and has raised more than $1 million so far with the help and generosity of individuals and businesses from the area.  MOM is asking for community help in raising the last $400,000 needed to meet the goal.

With growing demand for basic necessities in our 60,000 person service area, in 2012 we faced the challenge of meeting client need despite outdated and inadequate facilities. The Building Hope, Strengthening Communities Campaign supports the purchase and renovation of the consolidated facility at 3502 Parmenter St. in Middleton that houses the MOM food pantry, clothing center and administrative offices.

“The families we serve couldn’t wait so we made the decision to purchase and renovate these facilities, “said Jim Hartlieb, co-Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee,  member of the MOM Board, and Vice President of First Business Bank.   “The facility has allowed for expanded capacity and increased efficiencies in food and clothing storage, distribution and management, as well as space for enhanced client services.  Simply put, the new facility has enabled MOM to serve more families and better provide for those in need.”

MOM Building

The Building Hope, Strengthening Communities capital campaign has quietly raised more than $1 million so far with the help and generosity of many individuals, including Marlene Mack and Nate and Sarah Herbst, and businesses from the area, such as Starion Financial and MGE.  In addition to Hartlieb, Tim Carey from T5 Real Estate Solutions is co-chairing the capital campaign efforts, with Matt Lepay and Al Toon as honorary co-chairs.

Matt Lepay at MOM event

With an investment in the Building Hope, Strengthening capital campaign, the community will help MOM eliminate a long term mortgage and allow us to redirect those funds to help more people with more services.  Additional renovation work still needs to be completed, such as repairing the parking lot and replacing heating and air conditioning equipment.

“Once the debt is paid off, we can redirect those funds to enhance our housing programs, implement additional educational resources, bring in a greater selection of nutritious food and bring in other resources that our clients are telling us they need to help them,”  said Al Ripp, MOM Executive Director.   “Ultimately, you would help MOM continue to be that force for instilling hope and driving change in our community for our neighbors that need our help.”

MOM Food Pantry

Throughout the remainder of 2015 there will be a number of giving opportunities for the public to get involved.   To learn more about MOM’s efforts to prevent homelessness and end hunger through the Building Hope, Strengthening Communities Campaign, visit

If you would like to donate now you can send your investment to MOM at 3502 Parmenter in Middleton, care of “Building Hope” or visit and donate online.  If you would like to make a multi-year pledge or would like a tour of the facility please contact Al Ripp, Executive Director at or call 826-3408.

Busy Dane County Food Pantry and Case Management services settle into their New Home

McDonough and Ripp

Bill McDonough the Market President for Starion Financial pledged a $100,000 gift to the MOM Capital Campaign. This was an unsolicited contribution from StarionFinancial and the first toward the campaign.  Starion Financial is located at 1651 John Q Hammons Dr, Suite 100 Middleton, Wisconsin.

 “Starion Financial is committed to the progress and success of the communities we serve. The organization and its employees contribute financially, volunteer readily in community organizations and functions and give important civic leadership, “ said Bill McDonough, Market President for StarionFinancial.  “ Starion chose to support MOM because of its mission to prevent homelessness and end hunger, and the positive impact it has on the Middleton community. We recognized the benefits of consolidating the administrative functions of MOM with the food pantry and clothing center, as well as the benefit of being on the Madison Metro bus line.”

The Middleton Outreach Ministry Offices and Food Pantry moved to a larger location on in March of 2013 in order to better serve a growing number of clients.    The new location at 3502 Parmenter Street in Middleton is also home to the MOM office, which provides case management services as well as administrative support for the busy pantry and clothing center.

“Our hope is this financial support will allow MOM to reach more people in need, and in turn may encourage others to join Starion in supporting the Building Hope Strengthening Communities capital campaign,” said McDonough about the early gift.

MOM’s ability to meet the needs had been significantly limited due to the condition and location of the previous facilities. Prior to the move, the Food Pantry and Clothing Center operated at a warehouse space in the Middleton Business Park approximately 3 miles away from the office, which was located in downtown Middleton in a deteriorating, aging building that was non-ADA compliant.

Introducing the MOM Squad!


The MOM Squad:  Providing opportunities for youth to take meaningful action in their community.

  • Scheduled youth volunteer programming at MOM on several weekends throughout 2015 for children/families (kids ages 4K-Middle School)
  • Special opportunities for youth at MOM events
  • Middle School Summer Camps (run through the Middleton Department of Recreation – registration typically opens in April)
  • Summer Program with fun awards for levels of completion

MOM Squad weekend events are designed to: teach about the importance of service, meaningfully participate in a service activity, receive information about opportunities in which they can participate outside of the event, and learn about MOM.

Elementary/Family Program: The program is designed for children 4K-5th grade. All children in these activities must have a parent/chaperone present (1 adult per 3 children).

Middle School Program: The program is designed for Middle School youth. Parents do not need to be present.

*Both programs will run concurrently. Each program will have a maximum of 12 participants. Waivers will need to be signed by parents/chaperones and will be sent after registration.

Check out the MOM website for more information on upcoming events/dates!


QR Lending Matches Employee Donations

QR Lending Vice President Tom Pisapia  and MOM Director Al Ripp
QR Lending Vice President Tom Pisapia
and MOM Director Al Ripp

Employees of QR Lending used a great company benefit this past holiday season. Selecting MOM for their contribution they took advantage of the company’s easy payroll deduction option combined with a corporate matching of their donations to contribute $1,594 to MOM.

QR Lending encourages employee support of non-profits and the parent company, First Federal of Florida, matches their contributions.

QR Lending provides a multidimensional and powerful, yet seamless and efficient lending resource. Headquartered in Madison, QR Lending offers a robust product menu, the flexibility of retail or wholesale loan programs, and versatile correspondent lending options.

Learning to give at a young age

Three families worked together to  collect a whopping 265 pounds of food plus cash donations in their neighborhood near Middleton High School. The Shaws, O’Neills, Helfs, and Scheuffners totalled 15 people with a mission to give back and share an important lesson with their children. These young ones are learning the value of community service at an early age.

(left to right, top to bottom) Addy (4), Lilly (5), Caroline (4), Fin (3), Gavin (2), Reagan (3), Cora (3).
(left to right, top to bottom) Addy (4), Lilly (5), Caroline (4), Fin (3), Gavin (2), Reagan (3), Cora (3).

Netech offers helping hand

NetechA hardworking volunteer team led by General Manager Mike Sanders, from Netech Corporation showed up to MOM to help. This great team harvested and cleaned produce from the gardens; cleaned the distribution center; sorted and hung clothing; and sorted school supplies.

“It was our pleasure and privilege to volunteer at MOM. You have an amazing team and we were inspired by everything you are managing to do for the Middleton community,” said Katie Spencer, Netech Marketing Coordinator.

Netech is a fast-growing, innovative technology solutions provider that delivers collaboration, data center, network foundation, integrated maintenance and physical security solutions to a wide range of customers throughout the Midwest.  It is a family business that emphasizes the same honest, hard-working values that built its reputation. Their Middleton offices are located at 8215 Greenway Blvd., Ste. 160.

Mack’s Generous Donation Continues Legacy


Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) is pleased and honored to announce an extraordinarily generous gift from Marlene Mack in honor of her late husband, Ken Mack.  Mack’s gift will support MOM’s vision to prevent homelessness and end hunger by helping fund MOM’s new facility on Parmenter Street in Middleton.

Ken Mack grew up on a dairy farm in Roxbury, Wisconsin.  He graduated from Sauk City High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dairy Science from the University of Wisconsin.  In 1961, he married Marlene Maier in Waunakee.  Ken founded Mounds Agri-Service on Highway 14 in Middleton and established the first Mounds Pet Food Warehouse on Madison’s east side which has grown into five stores around central Wisconsin.

MOM was started over 30 years ago with the mission to serve those in need within our communities with the most basic necessities, doing so with respect and dignity.  Today, there are more than 1,200 visits to both the Food Pantry and Clothing Center each month, with 43% of those served being children.  Besides providing needed food and clothing, MOM serves over 500 households every year with housing assistance which prevents individuals and families that are at risk of becoming homeless, an issue that is even more difficult and expensive to resolve.

In March 2013, MOM moved their office and distribution center to a larger location at 3502 Parmenter St. in Middleton, with increased capacity for fresh produce, food storage, and proper refrigeration.  The Clothing Center more than quadrupled in size, giving adequate space for clothing displays and ‘shopping’.  Our neighbors who need help and hope have greater access to the facility and can receive all the services MOM provides at one convenient location.

Marlene’s gift to MOM continues the Mack legacy of strengthening their community by supporting the need for human services.  During his life, Ken served on various committees and advisory boards.  “His main focus was helping those less fortunate with moral support and financial help,” says Marlene.  “Ken will be remembered for his kind and gentle nature.  His spirit lives on!”

“The Mack donation takes us to the half-way point of MOM’s 1.8 million dollar fundraising effort and helps ensure the long term future of MOM in the community” says Al Ripp, MOM’s Executive Director. “With the help of Marlene and others in the community, MOM will continue to help our neighbors in need, one household at a time!”

More information about MOM’s Building Hope, Strengthening Communities Capital Campaign can be found at

(Photo:  Marlene Mack with members of the MOM Board – From left to right – Jim Hartlieb (MOM Capital Campaign Chair), Tim Carey (Vice-President), George Mavroulis, Rachel Newcomb, Al Ripp (MOM Executive Director), Nissa Judd (President), Todd Smith, Liz Meffert (sister of Ken Mack), Craig Keleher (Treasurer))

Creating for a Cause: THANK YOU!

Creating for a Cause 2014

Thank you to everyone who attended and shopped local through the second annual Creating for a Cause:  A Holiday Art Fair.  Through art purchases (and artist donations), Gifts of Hope purchases, MOM donations, and the generous anonymous matching grant, the event raised approximately $18,000 to prevent homelessness and end hunger through MOM!   An enormous thanks to the volunteers, event organizers, the non-profit musicians from Brass Arts, and most of all, the artists, for making the event so successful.

Get Fit. End Hunger.


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Do you exercise?  Then you can End Hunger!  Through the Princeton Club’s Million Pound Challenge, every hour of exercise translates into 10 pounds donated to a Food Pantry of your Choice through a simple log-in process.

Join us in supporting in Middleton Outreach Ministry’s Food Pantry!  Last year, the Million Pound Challenge donated nearly 8,000 pounds of food to MOM.

Register today!   Better yet, join the MOM team!  Register under “MOM Volunteers End Hunger”.  It’s completely free, and you do not need to be a member of the Princeton Club to join.   Grab your friends and join the fun!

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Your impact? 

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It’s the time of year when we look back and see what the community’s generosity has created in the past year.    You give from the heart, whether it’s financial or your time, and in return, we promise to do everything we can to prevent homelessness and end hunger – and give hope – to our neighbors in need.

Your generosity helps people like Anita* –

“I don’t know how I would have made it through the toughest time of my life if it wasn’t for the amazing people that make up MOM.  I was making minimum wage with two small children and couldn’t make ends meet on my own. Not only did MOM make sure we were fed (milk and diapers for my baby!), but also helped with school supplies and warm winter clothes for my children. My kids even got wrapped presents at Christmas!  I couldn’t hold back my tears when I opened my door to a young couple bringing all these presents; I was so thankful for that.

Here we are years later–now a happy, growing family like I always dreamed of having someday. I am so blessed now to be self-supported and to be working and enjoying my family. If it weren’t for the caring and support of the people at MOM, I honestly don’t believe my family would have made it through that tough time. THANK YOU! WE LOVE YOU!”

The impact you made on Anita changed her life.  And there are thousands of more stories just like hers every day.

The impact you made this year is staggering – In 2014, your generosity helped MOM:

  • Distribute over a million pounds of food for the first time in MOM’s history. MOM’s progressive food programs continue to ensure that the over 4,000 people who come to MOM every month don’t ever have to worry about how they will have enough food to survive.  With a larger Food Pantry and warehouse, as well as several Food Pantry gardens, Mobile Food Pantries, and school-based Snack Bag programs, MOM continues to feed more people every day.
  • Provide a brighter future for children. Nearly 45% of the individuals served through our food programs are children.  Research shows that the impact of poverty on a child’s brain is immense.  The extreme and ongoing stress of instability and hunger negatively changes one’s brain physically – forever.    Allowing families access to healthy nutritious food 6 days a week makes it possible for children in poverty to learn and to cope.  MOM’s programs will impact these children for the rest of their lives.
  • Provide nearly 100,000 pounds of clothing, freeing up needed financial resources for rent, medical expenses, and other necessary expenses. The volunteers in the Clothing Center continue to create a wonderful atmosphere, and quality donations make the experience like a mini department store for all who shop.
  • Assist over 500 households by providing small Eviction Intervention and Utility grants, combined with case management and a caring ear, helping families maintain the stability of a warm home.
  • Provide transportation and help with chores for over 300 seniors who need just a little extra assistance to stay independent in their homes through the Seniors Program.

These programs – combined with special programs such as the Back To School Program, Thanksgiving Baskets, and Sharing Christmas – only happen because of you.  The impact your gift made in the community can be measured in numbers, and it can also be measured in relief and hope for a better day.

And we couldn’t do any of this without the caring and compassionate volunteers that make it all happen.  In this past year, volunteers have served over 25,000 hours with MOM.  Their gift is invaluable, and allows us to do even more with every dollar or gift given.  MOM exists and operates only because so many people have made preventing homelessness and ending hunger part of their own personal mission.  We’re honored that they have chosen MOM through which to serve.

We’ve already started planning for exciting changes in 2015, our 35th year in service to the greater West Madison, Middleton and Cross Plains communities, including more partnerships and opportunities for you and the rest of the community to make an impact, person by person.  Together we will prevent homelessness and end hunger in our community.

It’s not too late to give a gift to make an impact still this year.
Consider making an end of the year impact – And thank you!

(*name changed in order to protect privacy)

VOTE for MOM in Edible Madison’s Local Hero Awards

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MOM is honored to have been chosen as a non-profit finalist in Edible Madison’s 2015 Local Hero Awards!   Edible Madison is a quarterly publication dedicated to celebrating the local food & agri-culture of Southern Wisconsin and is distributed throughout the region.

Now through Friday, December 26 (at 11:59pm!) you can vote for MOM as a Local Food Hero.  (Your vote will be cast on the last page of the survey).   Winners will be featured in their Spring 2015 issue, which will be released in mid-March. 

Why should you vote for MOM?LHA-small-logo

Operating year round, MOM’s Food Pantry is open six days per week, serving over 4,000 people per month.  MOM will have distributed over 1 million pounds of food by the end of 2014.     However, what makes the pantry special is more than just the fact that MOM serves so many people on Madison’s greater west side.

Not only one of the largest in Dane County, the MOM Food Pantry offers a unique model.  Guests to the Pantry can visit as often as they need, effectively eliminating hunger for anyone in our service area.  MOM proudly partners with Second Harvest Food Bank and Community Action Coalition, and receives overwhelming support from businesses and foundations throughout the community as well as hundreds of volunteers.

MOM has many innovative programs to make sure food is getting to people who most need it, even if they can’t make it to our Food Pantry in Middleton.  MOM operates a Mobile Food Pantry, bringing food to low-income and home-bound seniors and people with disabilities.  MOM also operates a snack bag program to make sure kids at the local high school who suffer from hunger have food to take home at night or eat during the day.

One of MOM’s most successful programs are the Food Pantry Gardens.  MOM operates three gardens, one of which is a teaching garden.  MOM clients have their own plots, and are work side-by-side with mentors to help them learn to grow their own food.  Some of the produce from these client gardens as well as the bounty from the other two gardens go directly to MOM’s Food Pantry and is an ongoing source of fresh healthy food for those in need.

During the summer, a collaboration with the Middleton Rec Department means that middle-school youth are also spending time tending the gardens.   In 2014, the gardens in total produced over 8,000 pounds of food.   The garden is headed by volunteer Dan Johnson who won a United Way Community Volunteer Award for his work in 2012.

MOM also uses creative ways, such as Canstruction Madison to invite the community to participate in ending hunger in their community.

Vote for MOM today, and share this opportunity with your friends and family!  Exposure in Edible Madison will help spread the word about MOM and encourage others to make an impact in their community through MOM.

Preventing Homelessness, Ending Hunger – every day.

Thank you!

MOM Ornaments End Hunger and Prevent Homelessness



These beautiful ornaments will be for sale throughout the holiday season at local Small Businesses as a part of Downtown Middleton Business Associations efforts to help area neighbors in need this holiday season.

Ornaments can be purchased at these local stores:
z.bella boutique
Diny’s Jewelers

Ornaments are only $10, and proceeds will directly help end hunger and prevent homelessness through the work of MOM.   The following businesses will also be hosting food drives:

z.bella boutique
Marilyn’s Salon & Opera House
Zucca Pilates
Hallman Lindsay Paints
Barriques Market
Broyles & Company, CPA’s
BMO Harris Bank
Twin Valley Clay
Lori’s Pet-Agree Salon
Edward Jones—Riley
Aaron Achenbach Insurance
National Mustard Museum
Isthmus Eye Care
Momentum Floral & Décor
Middleton Dress Company
Diny’s Jewelers
The Little Gym of Middleton
Sofra Family Bistro
Villa Dolce
Roman Candle Pizza


Ornaments will also be for sale at the Creating for a Cause:  A Holiday Art Fair.



Thankful for a Caring Community

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Full stomachs and neighbors who care make for happy holiday memories. MOM offers several programs for families in need, and invites our community to join us in brightening the holidays for hundreds of local families.

MOM’s Thanksgiving Program offers complete meals in the form of a Thanksgiving Basket to 350 area families, as well as smaller Cornish Hens and fresh produce to smaller families or individuals in need. “We’re excited to have partnered with area businesses to make this service to the community happen. Because of the generosity of Shurfine Food Centers, Certco employees, and members of the community, area residents won’t have to go without this holiday season,” said Cheri
Farha, Food Pantry Manager.

Support this year’s Thanksgiving program!  Donations of $15 to the program help us give a family the food they needed for a delicious holiday meal.  When making a donation, write “holiday meals” in the memo.  Learn more about all of our holiday opportunities at

Sharing Christmas with our Friends and Neighbors


When we think of the holidays, most of our thoughts tend to veer towards warm memories of family sharing a spectacular
home-cooked meal, and of course, gifts spilling out from beneath an ornate tree. But for many of our friends and neighbors, the holidays mean something entirely different. For many, the holidays carry an unmanageable financial and emotional burden. Children and parents alike go without gifts of any kind.

MOM would like to change that reality for hundreds of families in our service area – and you can help!

The 15th annual Sharing Christmas program will once again match donors with hundreds of local families who have successfully registered through MOM. Each family will be screened and will be matched with donors who are willing and able to spend $50 per family member to ensure that each receives something special for the holidays. Donors may deliver their
gifts directly to the family with whom they have been matched or may drop them off at the MOM office for the family to pick up.Register online at

In order to increase your chances of being matched with a family prior to Thanksgiving, please register before Friday, November 21, 2014.

Creating for a Cause: A Holiday Art Fair

CfC postcard for MOM 2014


Thanks to over 50 local artists and vendors, the community can shop for local and handmade goods this holiday season all while helping Prevent Homelessness and End Hunger at the Creating for A Cause: Holiday Art Fair, taking place at the Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) Food Pantry on December 6 & 7. Creating for Causes, the group hosting the event, is a group of artists whose mission is to help publicize the work and raise funds for non-profits for which they are passionate, by holding art fairs. Local artist and semi-retired psychologist, Jan Fulwiler, PhD, organized the first event in 2010.

“I wanted to find a unique way to support a cause I really cared about. I found that I could sell the jewelry that I was making as a hobby, all while sharing information about the non-profit,” says Fulwiler. Soon, other artists were interested in helping and fundraising for their own non-profits of choice, and the collective was born. This holiday season, the group has decided to join forces to publicize and support the work of MOM, hosting the event at MOM’s new Distribution Center. Most artists will donate a minimum of 20% of their proceeds to the work MOM is doing to prevent homelessness and end hunger in the community. Each will also have a collection jar to collect donations for MOM.

Artists wares will include handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings, fiber arts, baskets, woodwork, stained and blown glass, repurposed silverware, scarves, and more.

Special holiday music will be performed by Brass Arts, Inc. Directed by Doug Gerhart, past Executive Director of Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the five piece brass quintet is comprised of professional musicians giving back to the community.

Scott Draves, a nationally known local potter is the show’s featured artist for a second year. His pottery is sought after by collectors and is sold through his Madison studio, on and at Catfish Antiques in Stoughton. He specializes in arts and crafts style pottery, a style that was originally designed to decorate mission and prairie style homes. Scott has collected pottery all his life, and was instrumental in starting Ephraim Faience Pottery. His work through Door Pottery is now featured at fine art institutions, including at a trunk show at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Scott believes in giving back to the community – from donating pottery to Habitat for Humanity’s “Souper Bowl” and now to joining forces with Creating for Causes. “MOM helps provide the basic needs for so many people in our community, and I am excited to be able to contribute to their cause.”

Also featured at the event will be MOM Gifts of Hope, an “alternative gift” program perfect for purchasing for the person who has everything. Purchasers receive a card to give to their gift recipient explaining that a donation was made in their honor. Thanks to a generous donor, every gift purchased through this program will be matched, so gifts will help twice as many people in need.

The event is sponsored by American Girl. For more information, visit

Event Details
Creating for a Cause Holiday Art Fair – Benefit for Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM)
12/6 ,10am-5pm, 12/7, 11am – 4 pm.
MOM Food Pantry, 3502 Parmenter St (past the PDQ) – Free Parking!

Give a Gift of Hope this Holiday Season


Connect your wish to honor friends, family or business associates with a gift that MOM links to those in need!

How MOM Gifts of Hope Work:

1.  Choose your Gift from our online Gift Catalog:  With many gifts to choose from, there’s something for everyone on your list.

2.  You receive a Digital Card:  We’ll email you a full-color card (as a PDF file) — that explains your gift and the donation you’ve made in their name.   You can then print or email the card to your designated recipient.

3.  Your Gift helps Families in Need:  To help deliver the most effective solutions to the greatest number of people, your donation will be combined with other funds and used as it is most needed.

Thanks to a generous donor, the first $5,000 of  purchased MOM Gifts were matched!  The match may be over, but donations are still needed to continue to serve the many people who come through our doors looking for help and hope.  Consider a MOM Gift of Hope today.

MOM is a non-profit that is leading a community-wide effort to prevent homelessness and end hunger for people throughout Middleton, West Madison and Cross Plains, WI.  Through the support of business partners, area schools and faith communities, as well as numerous individuals and service organizations, MOM provides – free of charge – food, clothing, housing assistance, emergency financial assistance, and special services for seniors, for our neighbors in need.

Costco-West helps hundreds of kids go back to School prepared

Thanks to Costco-West in Middleton, hundreds of kids will go to school with a new backpack this fall as a part of Middleton Outreach Ministry’s Back-to-School Program, which took place on August 21 and 22nd.   The program, which in total serves over 800 children, gives a new backpack full of a robust collection of grade-specific new supplies, with supply donations coming from collections throughout the area.  This year, Costco-West stepped up to the challenge with 424 backpacks, providing over half of the backpacks needed.  The program is just one of the ways that MOM is working to keep families in stable housing, supplying them with the assistance they need to free up financial resources to pay for necessary expenses like rent.

School Supplies 2014
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Michael Shea (Costco-West in Middleton), Al Ripp (Executive Director, MOM), Gail Johnson (Corporate Relocation Manager for Restaino and former MOM board member who introduced Costco-West to MOM), and Brian Wilsey (Costco-West in Middleton)

Scenes from the MOM Food Pantry Gardens

Food Pantry Gardens 2014

Scenes from the MOM Food Pantry Gardens Volunteers (including MOM Clients and youth from the MOM Service Service camps) are again working hard to grow delicious and nutritious vegetables and fruit headed for the Food Pantry and to client’s homes through MOM’s Food Pantry Gardens. We were able to expand the garden behind the Food Pantry this year thanks to the addition of a fence, which was paid for by a grant from Monsanto and to volunteers from a Blackhawk Church life group who labored hard to build the fence!

In addition to the main garden in the Middleton Business Park and the garden behind the Food Pantry, we also are
gardening a melon patch, located on land that is donated to us for our use every year. We continue to be the only
teaching garden in the area connected to a food pantry.  In 2013 the gardens produced about 8500 pounds of
produce after a slow start due to drought. With so much rain and sun this year, we are excited about a produce-filled
season! This is the garden’s fifth year.

Wine Walk Fundraiser for MOM

Photo Courtesy of the Downtown Middleton Business Association
Photo Courtesy of the Downtown Middleton Business Association

The Downtown Middleton Business Association (DMBA) will be hosting a Wine Walk on Thursday, September 11th.  The Wine Walk is a fundraiser for charity and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to MOM.   Tickets can be purchased at Marilyn’s Salon (1833 Parmenter Street).  Limited number of tickets available and are $25.00 each.

We will be accepting cash and checks only; please no charge cards.

MOM Food Movers add fun to their passion to help those who have hit hard times


By volunteer Jen Rockwell

When you walk into the MOM Distribution Center, perfectly sectioned produce, bakery and dry goods paired with a gleaming cooler and freezer section mirror any grocery store. Unless told otherwise, one would not know that this “grocery store” is actually a bustling food pantry that distributes upwards of 90,000 pounds of food per month to those who have hit rough times and need a helping hand.

It’s 7:30 a.m. and the Second Harvest delivery truck sits in front of the MOM Distribution Center. Today, like every Tuesday and Thursday, they’ll move between 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of food from the bursting truck and into the coolers, freezer, bins and shelves, all before the doors open at 10 am.

While making sure that enough food comes in can be a challenge, the greater obstacle is often having enough staffing to get it all on the shelves and in the coolers in a timely manner. To make this happen, the MOM Food Movers work tirelessly to sort, stock and display food with determination in order to give MOM clients the best quality experience.

Ryan Smith, the “young guy”, hops in the back of the truck to unload boxes from the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. With fluid and seemingly effortless motions, Howard Teal quickly scuttles loads of produce with the broken pallet jack from the truck to Jerry Sielaff, Marty Megeff, and Laurie Baker, who assess the quality and organize by variety. They then haul the heavy overflowing black bins onto the horseshoe of long tables and assemble a beautiful rainbow out of oranges, green beans, corn, and golden honeydew melons. One such melon is sliced open and on display to show clients what they can expect from the sweet and juicy fruit.

No specific job has ever been assigned among the Food Movers. Instead, each member has just fallen into his or her role. “It’s sink or swim with this group,” Jack “The Ringleader” Flesh jokes. “We don’t tell people what to do, we just throw ‘em in and if they float they float.” He follows with a contagious laugh.

Mark Schmidt, the “Freezer Guy”, dons a full-body freezer suit. He spends the majority of his morning in 20 below temps, sorting, stacking, rotating, all while making sure the rows of frozen pizzas and meats are enticingly organized. Right next to Mark’s “frozen office”, Jim Haas and Steve Hathaway neatly stack and organize the gallons of milk, dozens of eggs and rows of cheese in the large cooler with precision and care.

While the members of the Food Movers come from all walks of life -a retired ER doctor, a couple of “recovering engineers”, a farmer, firefighters, a med student- each puts their heart into serving others who find themselves in hard times. They work under any condition -snow, ice, arctic cold and sweltering heat- and refuse to take breaks until the job is done to the full satisfaction of each client.

David Shaw, who has been up since dawn, unloads food rescued from the Hy-Vee from the back of his vehicle and begins sorting it. Gary Schmuhl hauls food to the necessary areas, then tears down the small city of boxes he just unloaded. Bill Ziegler hops from various displays and racks, ensuring each is in pristine condition.

For many of the Food Movers, what started as a one-day-a-week way to pass some time in retirement has quickly and passionately evolved into a daily devotion of being a beacon in their community.

As the morning hustle and bustle of the Food Movers’ efforts starts to wind down, Ed McMahon and Norm Arendt sweep up the dust of the morning bustle from the floors. Kathleen Koehler, armed with a bottle of Windex, wipes childrens’ fingerprints from the large windows. A few of the Movers sit in the breakroom and determine what time they will meet up tomorrow for a donation run from the Humane Society back to MOM.

The Food Movers’ efforts are mainly behind-the-scenes and usually take place before clients even begin to flood in. But each Food Mover is content knowing that their whole-hearted efforts are helping to alleviate struggles in their community.

“My husband and I both grew up on farms where our parents were living paycheck to paycheck,” Linda Haas explains. “We eventually went on to be truly blessed with good jobs and success. So the least we can do is to give back in every way we can.”

MOM was honored to nominate both the MOM Food Movers and volunteer Noreen Warren for the 2014 Community Volunteer Awards hosted by United Way of Dane County.  All of these individuals, along with the hundreds of MOM volunteers, make a significant difference in the life of the thousands of people MOM serves each year.  We thank each and every one of you who give of your time and talent!

Back to School!


It’s that time of year again! While most families are settling into new summer routines, staff and volunteers at MOM are hard at work planning for a return to school in the fall. Each year we make it our mission to ensure that children from low income families in our area receive the tools they need to succeed in school.   This includes back packs stuffed with grade level supplies for children in Pre-K through high school. We could never pull off such an enormous task without your support.

All summer MOM will be collecting new school supplies and new back packs for this program. We are also accepting cash donations from individuals and businesses that would like to help but aren’t able to shop.

All supplies are needed and welcomed but we find the greatest needs each year include: extra-large back packs for high school students; dry erase markers; three ring binders (without logos); graph paper; dividers for folders and binders; protractors; compasses; black sharpies; Crayola crayons and pocket folders.

Our office is set up to accept supplies immediately and all donations of brand new items are welcomed. Thank you in advance for your generosity and for helping MOM to invest in local children in need.

Download a shopping list-pdf of items most needed.  For more information, visit our website.

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HyVee Westgate Innovative Donation Program

Pictured (l-r): Al Ripp, MOM Executive Director; Cheri Farha, MOM Distribution Center Manager; and Jacob Amour, Manager of Store Operations at HyVee Westgate.
Pictured (l-r): Al Ripp, MOM Executive Director; Cheri Farha, MOM Distribution Center Manager; and Jacob Amour, Manager of Store Operations at HyVee Westgate.

HyVee Westgate delivered nearly 3,000 lbs. of food to the MOM Distribution Center on Thursday, May 22.

In an innovative support campaign, HyVee Westgate created a program where their customers could purchase bags of food that would then be donated to MOM. These inexpensive bags were filled with items from MOM’s top ten wish list. Continue reading

Youth Summer Camp

Youth make a difference in our community! Co-led by MOM and the City of Middleton, youth will have the
opportunity to meet new people, lend a hand, build self-esteem, and gain a better understanding of our community.


Session 1: June 23-June 27
Session 2: July 7-July 11
Session 3: July 21-July 25
Session 4: August 4-August 8
Monday-Friday: 8:30 AM- 4:00 PM

Campers will spend a portion of each day performing service work for MOM, and also participate in recreational outings. The program is open to youth, in grades 6-8, as of the 2014-2015 school year. Registration will open through the City of Middleton at the beginning of May!

Keep her safe.

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This winter has been one of the coldest on record across the entire state of Wisconsin. Frigid temperatures and snow have paralyzed communities. Imagine the stress of living each day knowing that there is the possibility you can’t keep your family safe and warm.

Beyond the stress and discomfort of not having electricity and heat, a utility shutoff can be the start of a chain reaction, not the least of which includes eviction. In addition, growing up in a stress-filled and unstable  household can even impair the learning ability of a child.

Carl, a single father of one daughter, understands this all too well. After taking a severe cut in employment hours, Carl fell behind on his rent and utilities. The landlord tried to be flexible but was inevitably forced to issue an eviction notice.

Carl came to MOM for help— Through use of the Food Pantry and MOM’s utility and rental subsidies, he and his daughter were able to make it a few more months in their home until he found a new job. “MOM was there for me during the most challenging time in my life,” he expressed. “Without MOM’s help, I don’t know how we would have survived it. We would have been living in our car, and I don’t know that I would have been able
to get a new job.”

Carl and his daughter are far from alone. MOM served over 430 different families with either utility or housing assistance in 2013. MOM is partnering with organizations like MGE and Energy Services to do everything we can to prevent people from becoming homeless, a problem that is even more difficult and expensive to
resolve. But to do what we do best – we still need your help.

Your gift is about so much more than meeting day-to-day needs. It’s about giving families— individuals, parents and children— the opportunity to live with hope for the future. Make a gift online today at

NET is full of pretty awesome people.

Every year NET launches an employee-powered, extremely creative fundraiser for Middleton Outreach Ministry – NET’s Annual Holiday Food Drive Challenge. It is a testament to building fun, camaraderie and internal competitive spirit focused on creating good.

Here’s a picture of what they accomplished in just one week!

Getting started.

Setting up the lengths for each team
Setting up the lengths for each team

Program coordinator Laura Duffield  announced the four randomly assigned teams and team leaders. And, she set the challenge “The team to donate the most lengths wins! The winning team will be awarded with a giant pat on the back and bragging rights for the next year!”

The Food Drive Rules were simple. Teams competed by completing “lengths.” A length was determined by lines taped on the floor of the warehouse with food items aligned along the tape. A team scored one “length” each time a distance was completed.

Each day a bonus item was announced, which was allowed the team to position the donated food item “the long way” along the length to allow teams to their goal faster. On Monday, the bonus was canned fruit.

A list of most needed items was distributed to the teams: canned fruit, canned soup, boxed meals, spaghetti sauce, toilet paper, sugar, cooking oil, shampoo, cereal, meals in a can, diapers, fruit juice, laundry detergent, toothpaste and brushes, peanut butter and jelly.

In addition to employee food donations, NET Chairman and CEO Greg Williams made a cash donation that amounts to the total number of items collected.

When Laura issued this call, “Please join in helping those who are in need this holiday season and help the office have a little fun competition with your participation!”  80 people stepped up to help.

Each day the program coordinator encouraged and upped the ante.

Full swing into the competition
Full swing into the competition

Here are some examples of her fun messages.

“Team Susan is in the lead. Team Rob’s row is looking a little sad. Lunch is a great time to grab a few items for your team.”

“Don’t forget to check the “most needed” item list. You can donate more than just the bonus items.”

“Last year NET donated 1,263 items – let’s beat that! “

“Team Rob takes the lead with close to 2 lengths complete!”

“Thank you to everyone who has donated items so far. What we’re doing makes a difference for people who really need it.”

“Don’t forget tomorrow’s bonus item is boxed meals – all boxes can be laid the long way.”

“TWO MORE DAYS left in our food drive and Rob’s team is still in the lead with almost 4 lengths completed!”

As the week was closing, Laura kept up the momentum up. Read her messages.

“Friday is upon us. Tomorrow is the last day to complete your rows. We are currently at 730 items and Susan’s team is in the lead with almost 5 lengths complete!”

“Tomorrow’s bonus item is toilet paper – this is always a big length item so buy in bulk!”

“TOMORROW ONLY we are introducing a new trick – 5 Buck Cash & Dash!”

She goes on to explain that each $5 donations will allow teams to “steal” a foot of another team’s row. Emphasizing there was a specified judge to witness “stealing” and that IOU’s were not accepted. She closed with, “Good luck!  Tomorrow is going to get interesting.”

And on the final day, her thanks to all who participated.

Congratulations Team Susan! Susan’s team is the official winner with more than 11 lengths complete. Way to hide all that toilet paper in your car, BJ. 

Together we collected 1,739 items!  Way to beat last year, everyone!  We were also able to collect $250 from all the feet stolen and the items bought back. 

With NET Chairman and CEO Greg Williams generously matching the items and money raised, NET gave Middleton Outreach Ministry $2,239 on top of all the food donated.

Interested in finding a creative way to support preventing homelessness and ending hunger in this community?  Check out website for more information.

Network Engineering Technologies, Inc. (NET) is an industry-leading technology services company providing outsourced communications and infrastructure solutions that support the OEM, distributor, reseller and end-user channels with specialized expertise in the retail, healthcare and IP technology markets.

Food or Financial Donations- What does a Food Pantry need most?

I overheard a group of engaged local community members recently, discussing how to best help MOM’s Food Pantry.    It’s an amazing thing to see the goodness of people, trying to determine how to make a real difference in a neighbor’s life. 

With so many different messages on what a Food Pantry needs most, it might be helpful to take a step back and explain some basic MOM food pantry operations.   Staffed almost 100% by dedicated volunteers, people are working in the Food Pantry nearly every day of the week, during open hours as well as off.   Trucks are unloaded, donations are sorted, and inventory is kept.   Orders are made to non-profit food providers such as Second Harvest Food Bank and Community Action Coalition, whose trucks come to the Food Pantry (video) several days a week.  In their trucks is fresh produce that couldn’t be sold at a store, as well as pallets of essential items and “extras” (think delicious Kettle Chips or frozen pizzas).

Donations are accepted.  Volunteers clean, maintain records, enter data, and make copies, in addition to helping Food Pantry guests make food selections.  Food is weighed before it goes out the door and to the home of someone who struggles with hunger.    Food Rescue volunteers travel nearly daily to area grocery stores who generously donate nearly expiring but still good food or excess that they want to go to a good home.


These regular operations are the heart of MOM’s food programs, but several additional programs offer more help and opportunities.  During the summer, volunteers coordinate and operate the Food Pantry Gardens which not only provides the freshest of produce for the Pantry shelves, but also teach volunteers and clients alike how to grow and care for a variety of fresh produce like tomatoes, squash, peppers and peas.   Mobile Food Pantries bring food to two apartment complexes in the area, where people who have challenges with mobility live.  The MOM truck, filled with food, is a beacon of hope to those who otherwise lack options for staying food secure.    Volunteers fill the truck three times a month and create a mini-food pantry on location, helping guests choose food, and even bringing it up to their apartments as needed.

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During a single day, approximately 200 grocery bags of food head out the door to food insecure people living on nearby streets in your community.  43% of the people who eat this food are children.  MOM has seen an increase in use of services, distributing more than 800,000 pounds (or 400 tons) of food in 2013, enough to fill 20 semi-trucks. This is up nearly 7% from 2012.  

So what kinds of donations to MOM most help meet the need?  Should you donate food or make a financial donation?  What actually helps the most?

The answer is that both of those types of help are needed equally, and we couldn’t operate the pantry most efficiently without one or the other.


You may have heard from other area organizations that you can buy more with a financial donation than an individual can purchase directly from a store.   It is true – MOM pays a minimal service-fee per pound to purchase food from regionalized Food Banks (which isn’t a food pantry itself, but instead a food distribution non-profit).   Food Banks are tremendous resources to area Food Pantries, providing large quantities of food that wouldn’t often come as donations, such as pallets of bananas, potatoes, rice or  cases of cereal and canned goods.    Financial donations are needed to pay for Food Bank purchases and other bulk deals, and a dollar goes a very long way.  Money is also needed to help pay a variety of operating cost including maintaining buildings and equipment that are required to run a food pantry along with minimal staff costs to oversee day to day operations.

Then why do we need people to run food drives and bring us food?  Purchased food only makes up about half of what we need to keep the shelves stocked.  Items that we want to keep on our shelves to allow for an adequate and healthful selection of food are not consistently available from Food Bank sources.  Cereal, chips, and bananas go a long way, but nutritious staples such as peanut butter, canned fruit, and even flour and oil are also needed by people who fight hunger.  Individual donations and food from Drives offer shoppers an amazing variety of foods, so that people can choose items that their family will enjoy and that their children will happily eat.

Hot Tips for a Successful Food Drive: an interview with CPM Marketing Group

How can your food donations go the farthest?  MOM publishes a top ten list on our website that is updated monthly.  It takes into account what we know we can’t purchase from the Food Bank  or otherwise hasn’t come in from recent donations, as well as considering what is most popular with shoppers.   Buying items off this list is a great way to make a huge impact.  We also encourage people to start a Food Buyers Club where people go in together to purchase the items that are most needed and can be purchased in bulk and then delivered to the Food Pantry.

So, does it really matter if you buy an extra jar of peanut butter and can of soup and drop it off at MOM or in a barrel at a local food drive?  Absolutely!  Every single can of vegetables or box of macaroni and cheese that comes through the door at MOM feeds someone.  Without each can, each box, and each jar, a child has a little less to eat, or a senior feels a little less hopeful.

little boy eating breakfast cereal

One CAN make a difference.   Whether it’s through buying an extra can of food at the grocery store this week, dropping your change in a Donation Jar or organizing a Canstruction® Madison team, it’s a community effort that ends hunger.  For more information on how you can get involved in a small or large way, join us on our website, or on social media on twitter, instagram, or facebook.   Together, we CAN make a difference in this community!

Start a Food Buyer’s Club

Pig Club

Looking for a way to help end hunger in our community?    There is power in numbers!

Start or Join a Food Buyer’s Club, a unique and highly-effective way to address hunger in our community.  The concept is easily adapted for your group (such as book clubs, scout troops, church groups, & businesses) regardless of formality, size or dollar commitment.

Here is how the model works:

1. 8-12 people agree to donate a standard amount per month.  A per person donation of  $25/month can quickly add up to a sizeable food donation, but smaller or larger amounts are also effective!

2. The funds are pooled and used to purchase items in highest demand for the MOM Food Pantry.  An up-to-date most needed list is available at  Club leaders may also contact the MOM Food Pantry manager to determine what is in short supply but have a high demand.  Perishable items such as butter, cheese, and yogurt are also among some of the most appreciated items.

3. Club leaders can work with local grocery stores to secure case prices on items and/or take advantage of sales.   Purchasing items at low-cost grocery stores is also a good option.

4.  Club Leaders can determine how best to gather funds from participants.  Some groups may want to collect funds prior to shopping.  For other groups, the Club leader could place the order or make the purchases and then inform club members of the exact amount they owe each month.

5. The Club leader delivers the items to the MOM pantry once/month.  Those making the delivery can receive a tour of the Pantry, if interested.

There are many ways this could be adapted to your group.  For example, a group of families may rotate the monthly Club Leader so each family takes turn making the purchases with their children and making the delivery to the MOM Pantry.   This model can work with any number of members and any monthly donation decided upon within the club.   Join the Club!

Learn more about the “Pig Club” which has been implemented this highly successful model since 2007!   You can also learn more about MOM and why food donations are so important on our website and blog.

For more information, contact Cheri Farha, 826-3407.

Download a program description pdf


Thanks for making 2013 a year of great Impact on Neighbors in Need

little boy eating breakfast cereal

With the end of the year upon us, we take a minute to look back on the significant changes at MOM that you made possible in 2013.

The biggest, of course, was moving from two buildings – one aging beyond its ability to be used and another in a location that was hard for people to access and a significant distance from the main office – to one, consolidated and well-located facility on Parmenter StreetThe change for those who use our services and for the volunteers who assist cannot be underestimated.  MOM’s new home gives our clients optimal access to all of MOM’s essential services and enables us to better provide for those in need.

The year also included other exciting opportunities for MOM, including the new leadership of Al Ripp as Executive Director, lifetime resident of the area and community leader.   MOM also collaborated with many outside agencies to bring needed information and services to clients, possible thanks to our new space.  The gardens had record years in both participation and produce, and our youth Service Camp started another generation of children on a path of service and volunteerism.  Events – organized, sponsored and attended by passionate friends of MOM – increased awareness as well as raised needed funds.

MOM has continued to be a lifeline for many in our community who need additional support to make it day to day. 

  • Over the last twelve months, MOM’s assistance prevented approximately 250 families from being evicted from their homes and kept the lights on for 740 people, 50% of whom were children.
  • The MOM Food Pantry gave out a record amount of food, reaching approximately 800,000 pounds (or 400 tons) of food, enough to fill 20 semi-trucks.  This is up nearly 7% from 2012.
  • The Pantry had its highest month (between Jan. and Nov. 2013) of distribution in October, the month prior to SNAP (or Food Stamps) cuts nationwide, a trend seen by other Food Pantries in our area and beyond.
  • The Clothing Center distributed nearly 80,000 pounds of clothing in 2013, with monthly totals more than doubling during the months after the move to the Parmenter facility due to increased space and access for clients.

How was all of this possible?  Generous donors – business, groups, and individuals alike – made it happen, one by one.  Volunteers continued to make a significant impact, giving nearly 24,000 hours of service.

While all of those numbers paint a picture of an incredible amount of need filled, it’s the stories of real people in your community that show how very incredible these numbers really are.  It’s stories of people like Gwen who needed MOM when her job’s wages weren’t enough to make ends meet and her children needed a stable place to call home.   She wrote about her experience at MOM, “You have always greeted me warmly, with a genuine desire to know how I was, and to see me do well for myself. I will always be grateful for that.”

It’s the story told by the client who found himself unemployed and his wife disabled within months of moving to the area for a new job, and never expecting to need to ask for help.

He wrote MOM a thank you letter, concluding it with this thought –  “Not too long ago, I helped a neighbor with a challenging problem during a difficult time for her. There was nothing convenient about it for me, but I couldn’t say no.  When she expressed her surprise (and gratitude), I was caught off-guard and I could see she wondered why I had helped her. For me, the answer was obvious: there are some things people should do for each other simply because they can.

Why? Because it lifts both sides up as well as everyone around them. It helps create a community — perhaps even a world — where people know they can count on others not so much to do for them, but to let them sustain themselves and return or repay to that community what they can in whatever ways they are able.“  He concluded with, “MOM does that. We thank you again and again.”

That thanks is for you– for all that you do for your community, simply because you can.   Because of you, children filled their stomachs with healthy, nutritious food to feed their growing bodies, parents made plans to move forward without the fear of impending eviction, and seniors stayed independent and remained engaged in their communities.  Because of you, hope is within the reach of more than 3,000 of your neighbors who relied on MOM this past year.  It’s people like you who are changing the lives of people in this community.

Did you know-

$30 provides an hour of Case Management, where a client receives housing counseling, financial mentoring, and a professional and caring ear that, when combined with financial aid, stops a crisis.
$300 provides Eviction Intervention funds, which can keep someone – often a child – in their home, preventing homelessness and providing stability and security.
$3,000 provides MOM with nearly a month and a half of Security Deposit assistance to distribute, helping to place people in stable housing, when they otherwise might not have a permanent or safe place to call home.

If we continue to come together to help our neighbors and our community, we can prevent homelessness and end hunger – and bring hope – right here, right now.

The end of the year is upon us.  The work MOM does in the community is significant, and we need your continued support – now and into 2014.  Consider making a year-end donation today.

PS – Did you know that you can still purchase gifts from our online Gift Catalog?  For every gift you purchase, we’ll immediately send you a printable pdf to give to a loved one of your choice!  The recipient will delight in knowing that they made a difference this holiday season.  Most importantly, you’ll be helping end hunger and prevent homelessness right here in this community.  All donations/purchases are tax-deductible.

Brrrrrr…. It’s cold outside!

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Winter is here and our racks of coats and bins of hats, mittens, and scarves are bare.  Will you help?  All kinds and sizes are needed!    Linens of all kinds (sheets, blankets, towels, etc.) are all in need as well.

Head to to find out more information on donation drop-off hours.


Have you ever thought it might be fun to do something crazy to raise money for MOM?  What about by completing a personal challenge?  Or maybe you want people to donate to MOM in place of birthday gifts?

Through Crowdrise, you can use the power of the internet to do all of these things.  Set up a personal page through the MOM portal, and you’ll be ready to use social media and email to help achieve your goal.

Learn more here!

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“Backgrounds don’t matter when you’re lifting people up”

mom-logo-mark-only-l.gifDear Laurie:

My wife and I have owed you and MOM this note for far too long. She encouraged me with, “Make it a priority. Those people have been really good to us.” And she’s right, even though she may have understated things.

My connection to and relationship with Middleton Outreach Ministry can best be described as part of a series of unexpected events. I didn’t expect my wife to become permanently disabled three months after moving to Wisconsin and six months before I lost the job that brought us to an unfamiliar city. I didn’t expect to ever see and experience the government-run social safety so intimately. And I never expected to experience first-hand what it was like to seek your services.

More than anything else, though, I had no way to expect what I would learn about myself and the community we share had I not visited MOM. Among the many lessons, I learned never to presume to know what “that person’s background must be like.” (And before, I thought I wasn’t judgmental!) I certainly knew what mine looked like, and it didn’t fit any of those pictures.

Backgrounds don’t matter when you’re lifting people up. Sometimes simply maintaining a subsistence-level existence takes everything you have. When you fall into that deep, dark place, you realize how anyone arrives there is irrelevant to finding your way out.

What does matter is giving people a reason to believe they can change their circumstances, given the opportunity. What does matter is giving people the means to change their lives, to find a sense of purpose, and restore or preserve their personal dignity.

MOM does that. And it’s working.

Some would call it giving people hope. I think that’s an over-simplification.

At the beginning of the month (September), I faced choosing between paying the rent, the electricity bill, or the phone bill. Today, I signed an agreement to provide contract marketing services for a large, growing financial services company. I wouldn’t have been around to answer their call were it not for MOM’s help. Better still, the contract period is actually designed to give both sides a closer look befor we seal the deal with a permanent, full-time position at a living wage.

Not too long ago, I helped a neighbor with a challenging problem during a difficult time for her. There was nothing convenient about it for me, but I couldn’t say no.  When she expressed her surprise (and gratitude), I was caught off-guard and I could see she wondered why I had helped her. For me, the answer was obvious: there are some things people should do for each other simply because they can.

Why? Because it lifts both sides and everyone around them. It helps create a community — perhaps even a world — where people know they can count on others not so much to do for them, but to let them sustain themselves and return or repay to that community what they can in whatever ways they are able.

MOM does that. We thank you again and again. I’ll keep you posted on how the job progresses. In the meantime, we call all continue to share God’s love in our own ways with every traveler in this life.

– (A MOM Client, who asked us to withhold his name)

Did you know Food Pantries need Diapers?


by Mary Rowe, community volunteer


Imagine having to make decisions about whether to buy much needed diapers, buy groceries, or pay your rent. Imagine wanting and needing to change your baby’s diaper because you know it’s dirty, but you only have a couple left and no money with which to buy more diapers. Diaper rash and skin infections can develop requiring a doctor’s visit.

That is a reality for many low-income parents. The Wisconsin FoodShare program (food stamps) does not cover diapers, other personal care items, or household cleaners. Decisions must be made all the time about how to spend the small amount of money coming in.

The following chart is for illustration purposes only; everyone’s diaper use will vary. The point of this is, for one child, many diapers are required and they are expensive.

Newborn: 60
Size 1: 400
Size 2: 700
Size 3: 900
Size 4: 1,500
Size 5: 2,000
Size 6; 1,000+

Considering making a donation to the Food Pantry?   Consider donating diapers, especially in larger sizes.  For more information on making a donation, visit MOM’s website for location and hours.  Thank you!