In Marshfield, a new shelter opened in April to meet the needs of homeless families and already, it's nearly filled to capacity.
The man who headed the fundraising to make the shelter a reality is our Jefferson Award winner for the month of June.
Dennis Boucher returned to live in his hometown of Marshsfield about a decade ago.
He volunteered for the first-ever Winter Wonderland, a community festival of Christmas lights which fills food pantries. He also gave his time developing a dog park.
Through his work managing apartments, he saw something he didn't like.
“I saw a lot of people fall through the cracks couldn't get housing," said Boucher.
Boucher decided to change that through his volunteer work with St. Vincent De Paul.
The past two years were spent raising money and seeking donations to see the Frederick Ozanam transitional living center built.
“I do it to help. I have been blessed and I feel I should give back," Boucher added.
The shelter opened in April and is nearly full.
"We have 12 adults and a dozen children of which six are babies we are here to help people in need."
The idea is to keep families living together in two or three bedroom units apartments.
Adults are expected to work or look for work, save money so they can find a place to live and meet with caseworkers.
“This place here is not a free handout. We want to help them every step of the way and we want to transition them from where they are to where they need to be," said Boucher.
Boucher oversees the shelter at night snd will continue to do so until volunteers are found.
He's thankful for the community support which made the $1.2 million center a reality.
As he looks to the future there are plans to expand the St. Vincent De Paul food pantry and clinic services and he encourages others to find a way the can give back.
“Get a project that you really believe in that you can get behind and it will get to you. You'll get a good feeling from volunteering and working to help others,” said Boucher.
1908 Grand Avenue, Wausau, WI 54403
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