Over one year ago, the Mauston United Methodist Church (MUMC) Missions Committee started a fundraising drive entitled “144 envelopes.” As a result of that fundraiser, the Committee raised almost $6,000.00, with the intent of using one-third of the money towards a local mission, one-third toward national missions, and one-third towards international missions. In December 2016, the Missions Committee contacted the Juneau County Department of Human Services (DHS) with the intent of partnering with that agency to help the residents of Juneau County – as the identified local mission field to help our community. As a result, DHS Director Scott Ethun and one of the children and families unit managers, Coralie Burrows, visited with the committee to discuss community need. Specifically, the DHS indicated Juneau County’s children and families’ unit was of most need and a decision was made to begin a new program – Kids4Keeps—with an initial startup donation of $2,000.00.

Ethun and Kelly Firlus, DHS Children Youth and Family Services Manager, attended a MUMC service Sept. 10 informing church congregants of the program and how it will help provide service to children and families at risk in the Juneau County area. Specifically, the funding will be used to assist families in helping meet their basic living needs, with the intent of helping them keep children in their own homes, instead of placement in foster care. Examples of items the money will be used for include baby gates, safety items, clothing, laundry, etc. In addition, on September 10, the MUMC kicked off their first “Diaper Drive”, which will run until September 24, 2017. Further, various donations were given to the DHS including a crib, two pack-and-plays, baby gates, and hygiene items, with the intent of future items being donated on an as-needed basis. All diapers donated to the church will be given to the Kids4Keeps program.

If you would like to donate to the Kids4Keeps missions program, please contact the MUMC church office at 608-847-5964. Please note, the church does not distribute the items, as the Juneau County DHS is the point of contact for children and families in need. If you are need of assistance or know of a family at-risk, please contact the DHS at 608-847-2400.