Each year, the St. Clare Foundation provides grant money to local non-profit organizations that focus on health and wellness in the community.
This year many of the awarded organizations address homelessness and hunger throughout the county.
The foundation awarded $8,000 in biannual health and wellness grants to eight organizations in Baraboo and Sauk County, said Julia Randles, executive director of the St. Clare Foundation.
Seven of the organizations heavily focus on providing food and shelter for homeless or low-income families, including the Baraboo Area Homeless Shelter, which received $1,600 to purchase motel vouchers for immediate or temporary shelter and Safe Harbor Homeless shelter received $300 for office supplies.
Beyond Blessed Food Pantry, which opened in its new location in Baraboo in October, received $1,000 to provide fresh meat options. The Central Wisconsin Community Action Council received $1,000 to provide fresh produce and hygiene products. Kids Ranch also received $1,000 to supply food and snacks to children throughout the school year and over summer breaks.
“The St. Clare Foundation continues to support the food needs of our community through a number of grants,” said Randles.
Baraboo Giving Tree was awarded $1,000 to support its Food in Crisis program, which provides bags of food to families that are experiencing a food emergency.
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Deb Turner, president of Baraboo Giving Tree, said many families who are eligible for the Food in Crisis program have often visited food pantries for assistance but are still food insecure.
Turner said the grants received from the St. Clare Foundation help to fund Food in Crisis which can make a large impact on families who are struggling with food insecurity, and the program may otherwise not be funded.
“You know, it’s amazing, the calls that we get from the families that are really hard up right now and can really use assistance. It’s the basic necessities that we have that you don’t even think about,” said Turner. “They’ve been to the pantry but they just can’t make it through the month. They call us up and we make sure they get a food bag.”
In 2018, the Baraboo Giving Tree assisted 206 families with emergency needs and provided 96 crisis food bags.
The Sauk County Department of Human Services received $1,600 to help the Community Support Program, which helps provide adults with mental illnesses with a healthy eating program, as well as purchase and prepare healthy meals. The funds provided will help purchase groceries for the program.
The Baraboo River Equine-Assisted therapies received $500 for safety helmets.