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COMMUNITY: As Shalom Center turns 40, let’s continue taking care of each other

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Shalom Center logo

Shalom Center logo

Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little, together we can do so much”.

For four decades, the Shalom Center has been fighting the crisis of homelessness and poverty in our community. The crisis is in many ways worse in 2022 than in 1982. Kenosha housing is less affordable and there are near-record number of community members seeking an array of emergency assistance.

The devastating social, economic, and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened poverty, accelerated displacement, and increased rates of disability, job loss, and psychiatric crisis. But the work must continue.

It was 1982 when the Shalom Center became a reality. We began as a soup kitchen, providing hot meals to the homeless and low-income individuals and families in our community. A lot has changed in 40 years! Because of this communities continued support, we have continued to grow and adapt to meet the needs of those who depend on our services. While we still host the longest running soup kitchen in the county, we are also a 24/7, 82 bed shelter facility and we have a 10,000 square foot food pantry and distribution center.

Even as we made, and continue to make, services changes to meet the need and demand, our mission and vision remains the same: Serve. Although it’s been 40 years, the work isn’t done. We remain committed to ending homelessness and ensuring every individual and family in our community has a home, access to healthy nutritional food, a hot nightly meal, and necessities.

The other thing that hasn’t changed is our reliance on our community for our success. We believe in the power of community–especially in times of crisis. We began our journey with a group of individuals and churches providing financial and volunteer support. We continue to rely on the generosity of congregations, individuals, businesses, and other organizations. Thank you for helping us grow!

Last month, I had the chance to sit down with a 25-year anonymous donor. The conversation and message was simple, yet powerful. As she sat in her royal blue sweater, soft spoken and calm, she shared with me the importance of giving; specifically, to the homeless and low-income, and that people must take care of each other. The key words for me were ‘taking care of each other’. All month those words resonated in my heart. We must continue to take care each other. The work isn’t easy; yet together we are stronger.

Your dedication and commitment to helping our most vulnerable community members defines us as a city of pragmatism, and of compassion. It’s been 40 years, let’s not give up now. So many are still counting on us.

Throughout 2022, the Shalom Center will celebrate 40 years of impact in a variety of ways. The highlight will be our birthday celebration on April 9, 2022.

Please visit our website at to learn how you can help us celebrate. Remember – let us continue taking care of each other.

Tamarra Coleman is executive director of the Shalom Center.


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