Baraboo civic group prepares to share Easter meals

March 10, 2018 GMT

People Helping People is gearing up for its annual spring charity that provides families in need with Easter dinners before the holiday.

The Baraboo nonprofit held its first brat fry of the year Friday, and the fundraiser will continue Saturday at the organization’s Broadway Street headquarters. Proceeds from the event will support People Helping People’s adopt-a-family program, which gives low-income families throughout the area a box full of groceries for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

People Helping People founder Bill Harris said providing for families in need is part of the organization’s mission.

“If you’ve never been homeless and you’ve never been helpless – that’s a feeling that touches me because I’ve been there,” he said. “We know what goes through a kid’s mind when they’re hungry, and we know what goes through a parent’s mind and heart when they can’t provide for their family because of whatever circumstances that they’re facing.”

People Helping People recently received a $1,000 donation from the Walmart Foundation, which Harris said will be used to purchase hams for this year’s Easter dinners. Last year, volunteers sent out more than 100 dinners to local families before the holiday. This year, the organization hopes to give out more than 120.

Harris said any leftover items will be divided up and donated to food pantries in Sauk, Columbia, Juneau and Adams counties.

Elite Catering Chef Mike Althen fried fish outside People Helping People’s headquarters Friday. People Helping People recently partnered with the Baraboo catering service to provide jobs for the organization’s work ready program, which gives entry-level job training to struggling adults. Althen said he’d like to train more workers through the People Helping People’s work ready program in the future.

“We have lots of big plans,” he said. “At some point I’d like to develop a culinary education program.”

While People Helping People has helped countless families through the years, Harris was quick to say that nothing would be possible without the support of the local community.

“There’s no way we could do anything that we’re doing without the support of Baraboo and the surrounding communities,” Harris said. “They know who we are, they know why we’re here and they know why we’re doing what we do.”