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Charity partners grateful to receive Cellcom Green Bay Marathon proceeds in critical time of need

The groups receive financial donations in exchange for volunteer work.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:13 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - “There couldn’t have been a better year for us to be one of the recipients of the proceeds,” says Terri Refsguard, CEO of the NEW Community Shelter in Green Bay. “Oh, good, good, good. We’re not in panic mode.”

You can already sense the excitement and certainly the gratitude from the two charity partners of the 23rd Cellcom Green Bay Marathon -- the NEW Community Shelter and the Greater Green Bay YMCA’s health specialty programs.

The groups receive financial donations in exchange for volunteer work in helping pull off such a large community event.

But it’s about so much more than a dollar amount.

“We are now serving close to, I think we’re about 180 meals for dinner every day. A day,” says Refsguard.

Meal time at the homeless shelter has become increasingly crowded in the last few years as a hot meal is served to anyone who can’t afford one, every day, 365 days a year.

“Gas prices, groceries, medicines. There’s households that really do have to make that decision... am I going to get this medication or am I going to get groceries?” says Refsguard.

Half of this year’s Cellcom Green Bay Marathon race proceeds will benefit the homeless shelter’s community meal program.

The shelter will provide several dozen volunteers and receive much needed funds in return.

“You know what’s cool about that? When you’re out there with your volunteer shirt on, you’re doing your thing, giving people medals or water or whatever you’re doing, nobody cares where you live,” says Refsguard. “You’re there to volunteer for the community. Our residents look at it as kind of a an anonymous way to give back.”

The other half of this year’s charity proceeds will go to the Greater Green Bay YMCA’s six community wellness programs.

“Our health specialty programs are a really wonderful place for people to meet, converse and gain strength based on different types of chronic conditions they may have been diagnosed with throughout their life,” explains Katie Mandell, director of community wellness at the Greater Green Bay YMCA.

There are classes for cancer survivors, people living with Parkinson’s, arthritis or high blood pressure.

Mandell says there were more than 1,300 visits to those programs last year alone.

While there are currently wait lists for many classes, the extra funding from the marathon would allow her to expand access and buy specialty equipment to help more people.

“We really focus our energy on supporting people mind, body and spirit once they’re diagnosed with that chronic condition... just having a community organization, a space where they can feel safe and comfortable to gain strength and have that comradery with people who may have walked a similar journey as them,” adds Mandell.

The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon could still use more volunteers for the weekend of events. Click here for more details or to sign up.

Marathon proceeds benefit a local shelter's community meal program and the YMCA's community wellness programs.

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