Ribbon of Hope charity loses office in De Pere building fire

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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY)- The building at 100 S. Broadway in De Pere that caught fire on Wednesday morning housed a number of businesses and residents.

Many of them have lost everything

This includes the Ribbon of Hope charity, which has handed out more than $3 million to help those diagnosed with breast cancer.

Meg Steinhardt is the charity's president and founder. She surveyed the damage to the building after the flames were put out Wednesday afternoon.

"First of all, we are so thankful that everyone is safe," she said, adding, "Our office was in the basement, in the back, on that back wall, and it's completely gone. Everything from a paper cutter to our computers to... everything."

Steinhardt says the charity's board of directors held a meeting after the fire to discuss how to proceed. For now Ribbon of Hope is taking a two-week break from being able to fulfill requests.

"We are a financial and emotional resource for individuals with breast cancer in Brown and Kewaunee and Oconto counties, and we financially help people not only with their medical bills but with their utilities, mortgage payment, rent, medicines, whatever they need when they're going through treatment," she said.

Ribbon of Hope has been around for 17 years. Fourteen were spent in the building which caught fire.

One of the reasons they were so successful in being able to give out about $3 million is that the building's owner never charged them any rent. That's allowed 97 cents of every dollar donated to the charity to go directly to those in need.

Steinhardt added, "I also grew up down the street and this was an iconic building in De Pere, so it's hard to see something from your childhood in your beautiful community no longer there, but we will rebuild. We're strong."

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