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‘Hands Across De Pere’ fundraiser poised to help families many don’t know need help

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 4:46 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - School social workers and community leaders are pulling together for a new event, and they’re asking for your help and participation to help it make a difference.

They recently formed a new organization in De Pere to help families in need of everything from clothes to school supplies to car repairs -- needs only accelerated by COVID.

This new Hands Across De Pere fundraiser is just the ticket to help more kids and their families.

“It’s an opportunity for neighbors to support neighbors. This money that’s donated and raised at this Hands Across De Pere event, it helps their neighbors, helps their community members and stays local right here in De Pere,” says Brooke Watzka, a school social worker for the West De Pere School District.

Sunday, August 29th, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the Swan Club in De Pere, community leaders and school social workers from both De Pere and West De Pere Schools are uniting to hold the first ever Hands Across De Pere fundraiser.

Proceeds from the raffles, food, drinks and activities will go toward two programs.

One is the HOPE Squad, a suicide prevention program that’s thriving and making a difference in both school districts.

“We use our money to do various activities, whether it’s HOPE week where we recognize kids who might be struggling and provide hope to them through various activities,” says Melanie Brick, a school social worker for the Unified School District of De Pere. “It’s used to do different activities with the kids... go on field trips or participate in Be the Light Walk or many other activities to promote mental health awareness.”

Other funds raised will go to the newly created Hands Across De Pere group to help a growing number of families many people don’t even realize are struggling.

“COVID has really taken a hit on our families, job loss and housing loss and things like that,” says Michelle Dahlke, a social worker with the Unified School District of De Pere. “The Hands Across De Pere account is just to help the families in need with buying their school supplies, supporting their school fees at school, letting kids go on field trips.”

The funds are used to help families when other programs or resources fall short, something they say many people many not realize, so social workers are also using this as a chance to teach others how much help is needed.

“We definitely need a lot of help and support. Schools are asked to step up and bear the burden for the stressors of our families. There just aren’t the resources in the community always,” says Brick.

Money raised may also help buy winter gear and gym shoes for kids, or even cover emergency expenses like car repairs or a night in a hotel for homeless families.

Community leaders are eager to throw support to these programs having seen the impact they’re already making.

“Kids are the future. We’ve got to take care of our kids, so they’re both very important parts of our schools,” says Mike Cotter, community advocate for these programs.

Event details:

Sunday, August 29, 2021 from 3:00-6:00 pm

Rain or shine (will move indoors in case of rain)

The Swan Club, 875 Heritage Road, De Pere

Entertainment by: Big Mouth

Buy Raffle Tickets for a chance to win:

• Weber Spirit II - 2 burner propane gas grill and 1/2 Angus steer ($2100 value)

• Blackstone 4 burner 36″ griddle cooking station with hard cover and side shelves and 1/2 Angus steer ($2100 value)

• 8X10 Giannis Antetokounmpo framed picture (2 available)

• $250 cash

Tickets are 1 for $20, 3 for $50, or 7 for $100

Bid on silent auction items: https://www.32auctions.com/HandsAcrossDePere

Food and beverages are available for purchase.

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