April 30, 2015—A homeless shelter in Menominee, Mich. will be able to serve more families thanks to a donation from Waupaca Foundry in Marinette, Wis. The Abundant Life Mission serves homeless individuals in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula including the twin cities of Marinette and Menominee.
Waupaca Foundry, a Hitachi Metals company, operates six ductile iron and gray iron casting foundries in Wisconsin, Tennessee and Indiana.
The Abundant Life Mission has room for 24 individuals, but a planned expansion will allow it to serve 100 individuals. Key to that expansion was shipping twenty sets of bunk beds from American Bedding in Tennessee to Wisconsin. Shelter volunteer Theresa Theis realized the bed manufacturer was located near one of Waupaca Foundry’s plants in Etowah, Tenn. Her husband Mike is an electrician for Waupaca Foundry in Marinette, so she contacted foundry executives to ask if they would consider putting the beds on a truck and bringing them to Marinette.
“It was the least we could do,” said Phil Eatherton, human resources manager for Waupaca Foundry’s Plant 4 in Marinette. “There are a lot of families in need in our area and the shelter helps them get back on their feet and contributing to the community. Who knows, maybe some of them could work here in the future.”
Waupaca Foundry makes regular truck deliveries between all of its plants, but for this shipment they contracted a special carrier.
“We make a serious commitment to support the communities in which we operate,” said Joey Leonard, executive vice president of Human Resources. “If we make communities stronger, in turn we make residents stronger, and ultimately our employees stronger.”
Shipping costs from the bed manufacturer to the shelter were estimated at just over $2,000. “The beds were one of our most expensive purchases,” said Rev. David Pennell. “Waupaca Foundry’s donation allowed us to use this money for something else we needed, so the funds were spent on electrical needs and other upgrades. It was a godsend.”
Pennell is the Pastor of the Abundant Life Church and the homeless shelter. Expanding the shelter will allow his staff to take care of people closer to their hometowns, rather than referring them to shelters in the Green Bay area. The shelter’s mission is to transition individuals and families into permanent homes, access support services and secure employment. It is the only shelter in the Upper Peninsula that takes in full families.
To raise funds for the shelter, Pennell will walk across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula starting May 4, 2015 at the Mackinac Bridge in St. Ignace, Mich. ending at the shelter in Menominee, Mich. During the 200 mile trek, he will carry a cross to bring attention to the growing homeless population in the region.