TENANTS EVACUATED FROM downtown Ripon apartments during an early December morning fire in 2013 receive assistance as directions and assistance from representatives of agencies funded in part by the Ripon Area United Way dollars.		  Tim Lyke photo
TENANTS EVACUATED FROM downtown Ripon apartments during an early December morning fire in 2013 receive assistance as directions and assistance from representatives of agencies funded in part by the Ripon Area United Way dollars. Tim Lyke photo

     ... the Ripon Area United Way ... quietly serves as a benefactor for 21 non-profit agencies whose impact on our community is profound, yet profoundly self-effacing.

     Read some of the Commonwealth’s more distressing headlines to see how your United Way dollars quietly are empowering the lives of those in need.

“Blaze likely began in basement on 300 block”
— Dec. 12, 2013

     A fire that closed all three blocks of downtown Ripon damaged four interconnected stores and apartments on the west side of the 300 block of Watson Street.

    The blaze, believed to have started around 2:30 a.m., resulted in the evacuation of about 15 downtown residents displaced from their apartments.

     As soon as 6 a.m., Jill Lemkuil of The Salvation Army was talking with local representatives responsible for writing vouchers to make sure displaced families would receive a limited amount of money to help them going forward ... Likewise, Red Cross personnel were on hand to assist fire victims ...

     The Red Cross and Salvation Army are Ripon Area United Way recipients.

“RHS senior charged with sex assault of freshman”
— Jan. 11, 2018

     The recent headline tells the story of two high school students who allegedly had an inappropriate relationship, but what it fails to convey is what is happening at Ripon High School to prevent such sad tales.

     In December, Rhianna Zuleger talked to the entire student body during three sessions in the high school auditorium. The prevention educator for ASTOP (Assisting Survivors, Treatment, Outreach and Prevention) discussed healthy relationships and the notions of consent and boundaries. ...

      We’ll never know how many lives she spared that day from having to become victims of sexual abuse, but we know this: ASTOP is a Ripon Area United Way recipient.

“Study reveals growing poverty in area schools”
— Oct. 8, 2015

     As part of its three-year study on regional poverty, the League of Women Voters of the Ripon Area invited school and social-services professionals from Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Waushara counties to discuss what they are seeing among the poor, particularly school children and their families,

     ... Just more than a third of Ripon school children participate in the free- and reduced-lunch federal school program, the league found. That 34 percent had jumped from 17 percent in 2005.

     The alarming finding that poverty in Ripon has doubled in a decade adds to the burden of the Ripon Community Thrift Store and Food Pantry ... a Ripon Area United Way recipient.

     *     *     *

     This year’s Ripon Area United Way is $16,000, or 18 percent, short of its $90,000 goal. If you haven’t already, please give to this organization, which will leverage your dollars to make a difference in the lives of those in need ...

     To give, send your check to Ripon Area United Way, P.O. Box 71, Ripon, WI 54971, or give online at this website: www.riponareaunitedway.org                                                                         — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire column, see the Jan. 25, 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.