Isabella and Katie

This is a picture of two of the most caring and loving young ladies I have the honor of volunteering with on Saturday mornings. I’m so humbled that Mr Bob’s has touched their hearts. I asked them to write “Why I volunteer for Mr Bob’s.” Read both stories to the end and you’ll understand why I love them so.

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Here’s what they wrote.

Isabella

I started volunteering with Mr. Bob’s Under the Bridge through Advent Church’s youth group when I was fourteen. We would do small service projects (baking cookies for Christmas, putting together packages, etc.) to contribute to the organization. When Bob told us his story and shared with us the harsh reality of homelessness, I felt the need to help. I went to the church on Thursday nights to sort clothes and stock up the truck for the distributing on Saturdays. After a few years of helping on Thursdays, I started devoting my Saturday mornings to waking up early and heading down to the park to give to the homeless instead of sleeping in. You can’t understand the concept of homelessness and everything that goes along with it until you meet the people and know them by name. Living in Cedarburg, it’s hard for us to wrap our heads around what these people’s lives are like. There is only so much we can do to help, but we do everything that we can, and nothing goes unnoticed. The gratitude the homeless have is immense and their ability to enjoy their time with us and have fun despite their situation is admirable. Going to visit every Saturday creates a bond with people so different from yourself and gives you the opportunity to make real friendships. The experiences I have had through volunteering have shaped the way I see people, sparked a need to help others, and changed how I view homelessness in our society.

Katie

Volunteering for Mr. Bob’s Under the Bridge has been the single most important and meaningful thing I have ever done in my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help the people of Milwaukee and to improve the lives of those in need. This experience has opened my eyes and my heart to the lives of the homeless and I have developed a strong sense of compassion for the beautiful people that I help each week. Since I’ve started volunteering I have met so many wonderful souls with love in their hearts that they still strive to share with the world, despite their challenging circumstances. However, the most powerful thing that I have witnessed and learned from volunteering with Mr. Bob’s is the power of love. The love that is shared between the volunteers and the people that they are helping is astounding, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. Kosciuszko Park on Saturday mornings is transformed from a place of turmoil, hate, and struggle, to a place where love conquers all of those qualities through the compassion of the volunteers and of the homeless. My Saturday mornings with Mr. Bob’s are the best part of my week because I am given the opportunity to improve the world by showing compassion to others and spreading love.

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A Wonderful Surprise

 

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Charlotte and Mr. Bob with her lemonade stand proceeds.

Last Thursday as volunteers sorted donations, we received a surprise visit and the most amazing gift. Heartfelt thanks from everyone at Mr. Bob’s to Charlotte and her friends from the Center Street/Madison Avenue/St. John Avenue neighborhood for your generosity! These amazing kids decided to donate the proceeds of their lemonade stand to Mr. Bob’s Under the Bridge to help our friends in the city.

 

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Blessings from Bible School

Kids are part of a caring community, too! Here is a group from vacation bible school at Pilgrim United Church of Christ. Last week they volunteered their time to assemble “blessing bags,” which include essential items such as soap, washcloths and other hygiene necessities.

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Hard at work assembling “blessing bags” for Mr. Bob’s

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Miss Cathy December 2015

This is a message of thanks. We at Mr. Bob’s Under the Bridge would like to thank the many people who make this ministry run. Therefore, we wish to thank the following:

 All of the people who spend their time sorting the clothing on Thursday evenings.

 Our “park gang” who show up in all kinds of weather to distribute coffee and clothing to our friends.

 New Creation and Faith Harvest Outreach who come weekly to provide sandwiches and hot soup.

 Our board members who keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.

 Everyone who has taken the time to go through their closets and donate clothing and shoes

 Everyone who has made other donations, such as hygiene, coffee, or cash that allows us to purchase much needed items.

 The many strangers who have stopped at the park to see what we do, only to become donors themselves.

 Advent Lutheran Church, for allowing us to operate from that facility.

 Our many friends that we serve at the park, Salvation Army, and in the various other places, for giving us the gifts of gratitude and humility.

May your holidays be filled with gratitude, kindness, and peace.

Cathy Norene

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Advent Lutheran’s Youth Group

Our youth group joined us on our weekly outreach to share with our friends in the city.  I’m so proud of our church and Sarah Slavin for teaching our youth that serving others should always be part of your life.  They warmed my heart as I watched them interact with our friends

I love you guys!

Mr Bob

 

 

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Meet Our President Cheri Hesse

admin-ajaxMy husband Phil and I have 2 grown children and have been members of Advent Lutheran since 2002. As a member of Advent, I have had the opportunity to get involved in several ministries and I have found my passion with Mr. Bob’s UTB. I am currently the secretary at Advent and have previous secretarial experience in insurance and property management. These fields have given me a varied background to help with the ministry. I have watched the ministry grow along with Bob from filling up one small trailer to having a truck and large trailer, adding hygiene packs and coffee to the Saturday morning provisions provided in the park. I am very proud of this ministry and the diverse people that is has brought together.

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Ms Cathy June 2015

JUNE 2015

Several people have asked me if I ever get tired of seeing the same people every week. They cannot fathom why anyone would want to keep going downtown to give clothing and hygiene products to people who keep coming back.

“Shouldn’t they be able to make it on their own without your handouts? Why don’t you tell them that you have already given them enough, instead of always giving them more things? Maybe that would be the nudge that they need to stop living on the streets! Why don’t you just do that?”

These words were actually part of a conversation that I had with an acquaintance the other day. I simply sighed and tried to explain that our mission is merely providing basic necessities – clothing and hygiene – to the people who need it. We do not judge why they are there or how often they come to us for assistance. Many of our homeless friends fit into one or more of these categories:

o They are victims of abuse.

o They suffer from mental illness.

o They suffer from addiction.

o They are physically ill.

o They are children and have no say in the matter whatsoever.

o They have been homeless for so long that homelessness is the only life they know how

to lead.

o They are the working poor.

o They lost their jobs and have not been able to find work, thus losing their homes.

o They were faced with medical bills that cost them their homes.

The list goes on, but I think that you get the picture.

So why do we help the same people week after week?

 Because we can.

 Because it is the right thing to do.

 Because we are not put on Earth to judge those who are less fortunate that we are.

 Because there but for the grace of God go we.

 Because they are our friends.

 Because we love them.

 Because by helping others, the people we help the most is ourselves.

May you always have people who love you and are willing to help you when you need it, no matter how often that may be.

Cathy Norene

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Meet Board Member Bill Cardiff

Mbilly wife, Sharon, and I are long time residents of Mequon and joined Advent Lutheran church as members in 2001. We are in constant amazement with the number of important social ministries supported by the church and its members. A number of years ago (I don’t really recall how many) we decided to support Mr. Bob’s by helping out with the sorting of clothes and other donated items. It quickly became a weekly event every Thursday night on our calendar, not only to help with tasks of sorting, loading the truck and preparing for Saturday’s delivery, but to also share the companionship with the other volunteers. Two years ago Mr. Bob extended an invitation to me to join his Board of Directors. I am hoping my 30+ years of business experience can, in some way, help create growth opportunities and sustainability for Mr. Bob’s Under the Bridge in order to achieve the long-term goals of this incredible organization.

 

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Meet Our Treasurer Bill Taylor

William James Taylor is a resident of Cedarburg, Wisconsin and has served as a director and officer of a number of not-for-profit organizations. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) and has assisted numerous clients and organizations to achieve their goals through sound business practices. In addition to his ongoing consulting practice, he holds a PhD in business and retired as Professor Emeritus from the Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. In his spare time he enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends both in Wisconsin and at his Colorado cabin.

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Our Newest Board Member Alex Heyn

AlexAlexandra provides development support to Under the Bridge team. Alex became involved with UTB while working as the Advocacy and Awareness chair for Habitat for Humanity at UWM about 6 years ago. After working in the downtown Milwaukee area and meeting several of our friends who have been served by Mr. Bob’s, she was immediately pulled towards supporting the future of the organization in any way possible. She received a BA in Communications and Community Education from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a focus in Non-Profit Management, Mediation, and Peace Studies. Alex developed a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector from her parents, a firefighter and non-profit director, and her faith. Her volunteer, career, and educational experiences continue to drive her interest to support, and deeply appreciate, those who seek to improve the quality of life for those in need.

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