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The Neighbors' Place Prepares for Increase in GuestsSubmitted: 07/20/2020
Story By Nate Meihak

The Neighbors' Place Prepares for Increase in Guests
WAUSAU -

The Neighbors' Place food pantry has been busy.

"We've had over 500 new families that have never been here before," said Executive Director, Donna Ambrose.

 Even though it's been tough as of late, they're doing it for the people.

Ambrose explained, "We try to make it as easy and be as accessible as we possibly can" 

But the team is not doing it alone.



"The USDA has tripled the budget for emergency food distribution. So, we've had a higher volume of food delivered that we can distribute in Marathon County. So, that has helped us out tremendously," Ambrose said.  

And with the help they've been given,The Neighbors' Place wants to lend a hand to the people of Marathon County.

"I know there's a stigma sometimes but really this is an easy, welcoming process. We don't want people to struggle, we want families to come here knowing it's a safe place. Because everyone should not have to struggle with food insecurities, especially during these trying times," Ambrose added.

On the other side of the building, Charles Sanders has been on the frontlines, working closely with those in need as an Intake Specialist. His background has taught him a thing or two about helping his community.

"Being a Marine Veteran, I know that when you receive help when you need it, it is appreciated. I can just lift my hands up to all the people in the organization that help make this possible for us to do our part," he said.

And even though his military career is over, Charles is still serving those around him.

"Being a ten year Marine Veteran, of course it's not about giving food, but the principle's the same to help where we're needed," he stated.

And like any Marine, Charles isn't letting anything slow him down, not even a global pandemic.

"We not going to give up, we are still going to do what we must do."



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Students and parents have been patiently waiting to hear from local school districts on what classes will look like in the fall.

Last night, the Three Lakes School District flipped the script, they instead took questions from community members to hear their concerns.

Educating is a stressful job, now imagine trying to plan a school year around a global pandemic, and combine that with answering questions from nearly 130 parents in one night. That's a day in Teri Maney's shoes.

"It was truly a listening session...this was laying the groundwork so people have an idea of what we're planning and thinking about at the district," Maney said. 

 Those plans primarily aim to have students back in the classroom full time.

 "That would be our goal to return on site five days a week," she added. 

But with COVID-19 showing no signs of letting up in the U.S. backup plans will be in place for any changes.

"Our next level would be a blended approach," Maney added, "We're keeping our primary focus on elementary students being on site and that might mean for our junior high and high school, a little shift of scheduling."

Three Lakes would then approach any positive cases in the district through guidelines from Oneida and Vilas county health officials.

"We also have a plan for if we would have a positive identification in a grade level, or a teacher, or if there's a teacher. We would not want to shut down the entire district," Maney explained. 

But if things don't go as planned, Three Lakes will be fully prepared for online classes.

"The last level, level four, that would be fully remote instruction."

The school board will vote on Monday night at 6:30 whether or not they will continue with the district's plan. 


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