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Shalom Center offers ‘a hand up, not a handout’

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Since 1982, the Shalom Center has extended helping hands to Kenosha’s homeless and hungry.

Each day of the week, the non-profit operates a soup kitchen, off-site overnight shelters for individuals and an in-house emergency shelter for families. Three days a week, the Shalom Center food pantry opens its doors to those in need of groceries.

Each of these community services is “a hand up, not a handout,” say Shalom Center staff and supporters.



Shalom Center offers ‘a hand up, not a handout’

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Since 1982, the Shalom Center has extended helping hands to Kenosha’s homeless and hungry.

Each day of the week, the non-profit operates a soup kitchen, off-site overnight shelters for individuals and an in-house emergency shelter for families. Three days a week, the Shalom Center food pantry opens its doors to those in need of groceries.

Seeing both sides of homelessness

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Glen Simmons and Nika Martin couldn’t wait to work with the Shalom Center’s Interfaith Network Nightly Shelter program.

Their enthusiasm was driven by having experienced INNS from the inside. Now in homes of their own, Simmons and Martin receive paychecks from the organization that once gave them emergency shelter.

Sharing Center fills needs on county’s west end

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Three days a week, the Sharing Center in Trevor opens its doors for food pantry pickups.

The agency, in a converted fire station at 25700 Wilmot Road, has one room set aside for the pantry, with shelves stacked with canned goods and staples like cereal and pasta, and coolers against the wall packed with cheese, milk, eggs and meat. Bins of fresh produce sit by the door.

Portraits from the Emergency Family Shelter

The following interviews were conducted at the Shalom Center’s Emergency Family Shelter. Because the two women have young children, both have requested to be identified only by their first names.

Working poor struggle to get by

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For Christina Parker, the toughest part of not having much money is saying no.

The mother of three children, ages 2 to 15, Parker lives in Randall in a rambling older home she shares with her partner Brian Glade, the kids, Glade’s brother, and Parker’s mother, who is chronically ill and unable to care for herself.

Portraits from the edge: Working families struggle to remain afloat

Amanda’s middle-class life spun out of control in 2013.

The mother of three kids, ages 13, 12 and 11, lived in Salem with her husband of 22 years.

Affordable housing is not easy to come by in Kenosha County

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Kenosha County is an expensive place to rent a home.

The county has the highest average rent rates in Wisconsin, with the exception of an area near Minneapolis-St. Paul.

‘Where are the golden years?’

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Sandy Nelson had to learn how to sit.

How does someone who held down two jobs, who cared for her aging mother, who raised four children, who spent her days off running errands, stop doing all of that and instead just sit?

Health care costs further complicate lives of the poor

The difficult intersection of finances and health care is one nearly everyone understands.

Employers’ health insurance costs have more than doubled over the past 15 years, as has the amount workers are asked to pitch in.

‘I can afford everything, but nothing is left over at the end’

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Christy McFarlane has given up trying to work full time.

The single mother of four children, McFarlane said she has always worked, but when her daughter Mazzy was born with a rare disorder called incontinentia pigmenti that caused a stroke shortly after she was born, trying to work 9 to 5 has become complicated.

‘I can afford everything, but nothing is left over at the end’

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Christy McFarlane has given up trying to work full time.

The single mother of four children, McFarlane said she has always worked, but when her daughter Mazzy was born with a rare disorder called incontinentia pigmenti that caused a stroke shortly after she was born, trying to work 9 to 5 has become complicated.

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