RHINELANDER - People love spending Thanksgiving with loved ones, stuffing themselves silly and watching football. But for others it's a time to give back.
"Some people don't really have the opportunity to do this stuff so rather we give to them than just be selfish with our own time I guess," says Sarah Craig.
That's the premise behind today's event. Grace Four Square Church and North Country Vineyard have been distributing Thanksgiving meals for other people for five years now.
"We're taking them turkey, and stuffing, and beans and corn, and mashed potatoes to all the people who can't celebrate at home with their family," says Gavin Wallmow.
"Most of the time people don't have food that are working on Thanksgiving day," says Ryle Lewis.
They also take meals to everyone at Ministry St. Mary's Hospital, and households where people can't cook, or get out to be with family.
"People are just extremely grateful that someone cares about them on this particular day, Thanksgiving," says co-organizer Molly Ditzler.
"I think this is important so that we can be useful and so that we can share God's word to others, and to just be blessings in our own community," says Elise Ditzler.
The effort has grown over the years. They started by making 150 meals, and now make double that. Their volunteer numbers grow each year as well.
"We have roughly 50 volunteers today. It's a few more than last year; it's a real blessing to have them," says Molly Ditzler.
Everyone has their favorite part.
"It would not be the 101 potatoes that I shucked. It would probably be putting the turkeys in the roasters," says Wallmow.
"Everything. Just the thankfulness of the day," says Lewis.
"The best part to me is getting together and making meals with my friends and other people in my church. Making meals for others who cannot make their own meals today. That's my favorite part," says Elise Ditzler.
Big bucks to expand nutrition, physical education in Wisconsin schools
WISCONSIN - Seven Wisconsin school districts have been awarded a total of $3.2 million in federal grants to help them expand their nutrition and physical-education programs.
To qualify, the districts have to implement programs that teach students healthy eating habits and good nutrition. They also have to make sure kids have access to certain physical fitness activities, which could include fitness assessments or developing certain team skills.
The largest grant is going to the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, which will receive about $850,000. The Mukwonago Area School District and Pittsville School District will each get about $445,000.
WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.
That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.
That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.
The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.
An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.
For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.
"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."
The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.
A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.
"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."
The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.
Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.
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