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.
Future Wisconsin Project wants to bring more workers, manufacturers to Wisconsin
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
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