Journal Sentinel and Steinhafels Project a Great Success For Our Vets

Steinhafels, along with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been a proud partner of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight for years. It’s so exciting to see this organization flourish through the years, and expand to include Korean War vets… and soon, Vietnam vets.

We wanted to share an update on what’s been going on with the Honor Flight. Have you ever wished you could personally tell a veteran “Thank You?”

That’s why the Journal Sentinel recently featured the Mail Call project, presented by Steinhafels!

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People across Wisconsin wrote letters to veterans, and sent them to the Journal Sentinel. The letters will be presented to vets on future Honor Flights. In addition, for each letter received, the Journal made a $10 donation to the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Mail Call ran from November to April, and yielded 4,835 letters to veterans–raising $35,000 for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Steinhafels was honored to host the check presentation this week.

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Here are some pictures from the first batch of Mail Call letters, which were distributed on the most recent flight, Saturday, April 8.

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The letters received through Mail Call were presented in addition to letters that Honor Flight volunteers secretly collected from family and friends of the veterans several weeks before the flight.

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On the flight home from Washington DC, each veteran’s name is called out on the loudspeaker, and the packages are handed out. Many veterans get very teary as they read the letters.

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Korean War veterans also received a letter from a Korean citizen who lives in Seoul, South Korea… thanking the vets for saving their country. How cool is that!?!

The funds raised through Mail Call will go toward future Honor Flights. It’s important to add that the Honor Flight is an all-volunteer organization that dedicates $.98 of every dollar donated directly to its mission.

The next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is Sunday, May 21.  There will be following flights on Friday June 9, Saturday September 16, Saturday October 14, and Saturday November 4.

If you are interested, they we are now accepting applications from Vietnam veterans, and they expect to fly large numbers of them this fall. Priority will still go to terminally ill veterans (from any conflict), then WWII and Korean War veterans because they’re the oldest.  After that, they will fly as many Vietnam veterans as possible!

You can apply HERE.

Also, check out this 5 Words on Freedom movie premiere footage, if you haven’t yet! Steinhafels was proud to host this event a couple years ago. We look forward to continuing this partnership with our heroes for many years to come.

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Life Without a Mattress… Steinhafels Teams Up With Meriter

It all started with a phone call… and has translated into a better night’s sleep for some of Madison’s poorest residents.

Steinhafels is proud to be a part of many community organizations across southeast and central Wisconsin, in addition to the Fox Valley. We especially love it when a cause we’re supporting also relates to our slogan: Relax. In this case, we look at some Madison residents who haven’t had a relaxing night’s sleep in years.

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Lisa Bell, Community Relations Manager at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, reached out to our Steinhafels West Superstore Zone Manager Joe Heins, who specializes in Mattresses. Meriter was looking to donate some mattresses to low income residents–some of whom are veterans. They asked us for a price quote… and we were able to offer them a very deep discount on mattresses and frames. 

Delivery Day was this Tuesday, May 9. The Steinhafels crew was ready to make some beds!

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Bell explains, “I am so pleased that Steinhafels has stepped in to help us make this project a reality. We are committed over the next couple of years to continuing to provide beds to the residents of the Triangle Neighborhood. This neighborhood houses some of our most vulnerable, medically and emotionally, fragile adults.”

The Triangle is a neighborhood of condos and apartments managed by the city, and houses some of Madison’s poorest, highest-risk residents (average yearly income is approximately $10,000).

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Heins says he likes to put an emphasis on helping local charities, and that it was bittersweet watching the residents receive their mattresses on Tuesday. “It was an amazing opportunity, but also heartbreaking. Listening to their personal stories, the challenges these people have faced and what they were sleeping on before, almost brought us to tears. It makes you take a look at the little things, that some of us often take for granted, and how it can be life changing.”  

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One of the recipients was an older woman, who was just released from the hospital a few weeks earlier after surgery.

THIS is what she was sleeping on before the delivery–a makeshift bed of pillows on the cold, hard floor:

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As you can imagine, Heins says she was so happy, almost in tears, when the Steinhafels delivery crew arrived with this bed, donated by Meriter!

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She’s not alone. Several of the resident were literally SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR. Heins admits that something like this truly brings to light just how important a good night’s sleep is.

“A good night’s sleep is so important for your health and quality of life. Things that we take for granted nightly are things they don’t have the luxury of. It’s a decision between food or rent, so buying a mattress isn’t even an option.”

We are so proud of our employees like Joe, who go the extra mile to help others… and we’re glad he appreciates us as well. Joe says, “I always love being able to talk about how great the company I work for is. Seeing the good that Steinhafels does for the community is why I am always trying to recruit my friends and family.”

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It’s just a small step to combat the nationwide issue of poverty and poor living conditions, but even if it brings just a tiny bit of awareness that we all may have a neighbor in need… that’s something.

You can learn more about this project, on various local media!

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL FRONT PAGE ARTICLE

CHANNEL 27 TV NEWS STORY

AWESOME Behind the Scenes VIDEO!

Also, check out a full photo gallery HERE!

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Fisher House Partnership Continues With Recent Donation

We are excited to share a recent post by Fisher House Wisconsin!  Check it out HERE.

Steinhafels is proud to continue its partnership with the Fisher House–which provides a home away from home for families that have a loved one receiving treatment at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

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Last December, we presented Fisher House Wisconsin with a check for $75,000. The donation was made possible through proceeds from our Veterans’ Day Sale.

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These types of donations wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of our sales, customer service, warehouse, and corporate staffs.  Thanks to you, we are able to provide our customers with a top-notch sales experience AND make an impact in our community.

Thank you veterans and families of veterans for all you have sacrificed for our country!

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BLOG REWIND! Coats For Kids & Paying it Forward This Holiday Season

As Steinhafels and Fox 6 get ready for a new era of ‘Coats For Kids’… we look back on one of our most inspiring stories from last year.

We all love Vince Condella, but now that he’s retired, Meteorologist Tom Wachs is taking over!!  Tom and some dedicated volunteers will be at our Corporate Store in Waukesha on Wednesday, December 7, collecting your donations from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The first 200 people to come through the drive-thru donation line, and donate at least four (4) coats, will get one (1) pair of ticket vouchers to see the Harlem Globetrotters on New Year’s Eve (while supplies last).

No need to park or get out of your car – just drive on up.  It’s quick and easy, and most importantly, you’ll be helping kids right here in southeastern Wisconsin.

Now, let’s take a look back on our Coats for Kids Blog from last year… about a woman who truly took her donation to the next level!!

Yvonne’s Story (First Published 12/23/15)

Condella’s Coats for Kids‘ is a passion project that Steinhafels has been proud to support over the years.  The program is a community-wide effort to collect new and gently used coats for children in Milwaukee’s inner city.

Steinhafels has always been committed to community, so it was a no brainer to team up with Fox 6’s Vince Condella to help bring this project to a new audience. Each year the Salvation Army, Fox 6, and several other local businesses work tirelessly to make sure Coats for Kids is a success.

However, none of it would be possible without the fine people of Southeastern Wisconsin.  Hundreds of coats are collected every year–from Fox 6 viewers, to Steinhafels customers, and anyone else who is looking for a way to give back. Every year it’s humbling to see the generosity overflowing, just like the bins holding the coats!

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One of those generous people is Fox 6 viewer Yvonne Ondrejicka.  She wrote Vince Condella an inspiring letter.  We’d like to share a few excerpts of it with you to help you get in the holiday spirit!

Yvonne writes, “I just wanted to tell you about a wonderful event that my law firm, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. runs every year for employees.  It is called ‘Whyte Lights’ and each employee receives $100.00 in cash to ‘pay it forward’ in any way the employee pleases.”

Paul Eberle is the Chief Executive of WHD, where the Whyte Lights Program is in its 4th year.  He explains, “Simply put, it was the right thing to do.  Good companies invest in their employees as well as in the communities they serve.  They reinvest profits to support many of the underfunded nonprofits that provide the last safety net to the poorest among us. They donate employee time and talent to improve our schools, support our arts groups, and sustain critical civic organizations. By giving employees the opportunity to do something good with $100, Whyte Lights allows each of them to make good corporate citizenship something very personal.”

Yvonne goes on to write how she has always donated to Coats for Kids, but was disappointed this year because her daughters are grown, so she doesn’t have any extra coats. That’s when she had the bright idea to use her Whyte Lights money!

She says, “The next evening I went to 3 different Goodwill stores in my area (Waukesha).  I took my time at each one and found wonderful winter coats and vests in every kid size imaginable.  After the third store, I counted how many coats/vests I was able to purchase with $100.00 and I had over 20 items! … Last evening I went to the Steinhafels Superstore in Waukesha and brought in all 7 bags of coats.  People looked at me kind of strangely and asked if I brought all those bags.  I then told them the story of how they got there.  People were just astonished at the whole idea of an employer giving each employee money to ‘pay it forward’, and what a great idea it was to do this.”

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Eberle was thrilled to hear about Yvonne’s use of her $100.  When asked about it how it makes him feel, he says, “In a word, awesome!  Purchasing coats from Goodwill to help keep children warm this winter, while simultaneously benefiting the nonprofit, which provides training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages seeking greater independence, was a wonderful way to spend $100.  Yvonne rocks.”

We are so happy Yvonne shared her story with Vince, and with us.  What a great way to take a little initiative, and turn it into a thoughtful and meaningful gift this holiday season.

If you have a story like Yvonne’s, let us know!  Feel free to leave a brief comment and/or contact info in the Comments section of the blog.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS!!!

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Employees Giving Back: School Supply Drive

Steinhafels Sales Associates make it their mission to make sure customers feel welcome in our stores, and are happy with their purchases.

But their hard work and dedication doesn’t stop there.  Many of our associates take it upon themselves to go well beyond the doors of our stores… helping the communities we serve.

The latest display of generosity can be seen inside the office at our Waukesha store.  That’s where a work desk has been temporarily transformed into a ‘Back to School’ wonderland!

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Sales Associates Cheri Fuqua and Katie Wolf are heading up this very special school supply drive!

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Katie explains, “Anyone in any department can donate if they would like.  I love doing these events because we are fortunate enough to have a job, and it’s always nice to be able to give back to the community.  We all have a couple of bucks we can spare, so why not have everyone pitch in and give someone something they need that’s as simple as back to school supplies?  I really think this brings our team together and shows that all of us care and are willing to help those in need.”

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The drive is very close to Cheri’s heart.  The supplies will be distributed to inner city children at the 4th Annual Ms. Cynthia’s Back to School Bash.  What started as a grassroots effort a few years ago has grown into a community-wide event.  Cheri explains, “Ms.Cynthia was my tenant.  She’s an elementary school teacher with a heart of gold.  She put this event together because she saw a need.  Children in our community need a successful start to the school year.  This event brings a sense of community that was lost years ago.”

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Cheri says the event gets bigger each year.  “Last year we supplied 200 children with grade appropriate backpacks.  We fed over 300 children and adults.  We Entertained, we had a DJ,  clowns, face painting, nail techs, local barbers cutting hair, bounce houses, and basketball hoops.  Two youth won a bike and keyboard through Spelling Bees and Math contests.  The local Fire Department and Police Department joins us as well.  This year is going to be Off The Hook!  It’s a great event.”

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So how can fellow Steinhafels employees help?  Just walk inside the Waukesha Store Office, and grab a couple Post-It notes listing various needed school supplies.  Items can be donated until August 21.

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You can also show your support by coming out to the event!!  Ms. Cynthia’s Back to School Bash is Saturday August 27 from 11am-7pm, in the 2500 block of North 38th Street in Milwaukee.

 

 

Donating Life: All in a Day’s Work!

Steinhafels wants to say a big THANK YOU to all of our employees who took the time to give blood yesterday during our BloodCenter of Wisconsin Bus Blood Drive!  Did you know that every 3 seconds someone needs blood?  YOU are the reason some of those people in our area will receive the life-saving treatments they need.  What a cool feeling!!

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We have been holding the blood drive for a few years now, and we are always thinking about ways to improve it, and increase participation.  While we are so happy several of our employees took part, we still need more volunteers in order to truly make the event a success.  If you have any suggestions, please let us know.  We are looking at ways to make it bigger and better next year, and maybe get family, friends, and the community involved as well.  One startling statistic:  60% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, but less than 5% do.

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If you are nervous, or want to know more about it, just ask your colleagues about the process.  We talked to two Steinhafels team members about their experiences–one a long-time donor, one a first-timer.  Here’s what they had to say.

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Jimmy Eagle, Human Resources

-Is this your first time donating?

Yes

-Why did you decide to donate?

I donated because it was a great cause, & a little push from my HR counterpart. 😉

-Why is blood donation important?

Blood donation is important because there are a lot of good people out there who need some extra blood when an emergency or an unthinkable moment happens.  It’s cool to think that your blood could have saved someone’s life!

-What do you think of the blood bus?

The blood bus is an awesome idea.  It is a way to get more people involved donating, who normally wouldn’t have time to make it to a blood center.

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-Do you think it’s cool that Steinhafels works with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin and other community organizations on events like this?

The fact that Steinhafels participates and acts with the BloodCenter is just another amazing way this company tries to reach out and give back to the community.  They just set the precedent among organizations on being able to do the right thing.

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Justin Lyons, Web Production Coordinator

-Is this your first time donating?

No.  I’ve donated close to 10 times.

-Why did you decide to donate?

I donate because it’s an easy way to help others who need blood. My motivation is that my blood could really help someone in need.  Knowing people who have needed blood, it is very important to make sure that they have whatever is needed to better their health.  Also, there are usually good snacks after words and needles don’t scare me!

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-Why is blood donation important?

Blood donation is important because it’s a simple public service we can provide to help others in need.

-What do you think of the blood bus?

It’s a place to sit and get it done.  I would’ve donated sitting in the grass if I had to.  They also had Queen on the TV’s in there, and that was pretty sweet.

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-Do you think it’s cool that Steinhafels works with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin and other community organizations on events like this?

I think it says wonders that Steinhafels participates in events like this with the BCoW.  It shows the true values of the company, and how we like to help the community whenever possible.  It also makes it super easy to donate when the Blood Bus comes to you.

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We hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July Weekend with friends and family.  Thanks again for working together to make Steinhafels such a great place to work!

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Madison Makeover: Design For a Difference

A few months ago Steinhafels was invited to take part in a project at a non-profit center in the Madison community.  Steinhafels is often thought of as a Milwaukee company, but we are proud to serve the Madison, Appleton, and Vernon Hills communities as well.  Each community is unique, and gives our company a chance to engage with people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

The project we took part in is called Design For a Difference.  It’s a national campaign focused on design makeovers for charities.  This year one of the charities chosen was the Center For Families in Madison.  The center offers instruction, support, emergency child care, and in-home visits and resources to parents in need of some extra help.  The goal is to help those parents create a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for their children.

So where does Steinhafels come in fit into this picture?  We’ll explain in a few minutes.  First, as you can see from these pictures, the center’s Respite Center was badly in need of a makeover, including new furniture.

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The Respite Center provides crisis child care 24/7.  You may be asking yourself, ‘What does decor matter as long as the children have a warm roof over their heads?’  Well, it matters a lot.

Meg Miller is the Director of the Center For Families.  She explains, “People under stress often have to get help from places that are considered shabby, because that’s what nonprofits can afford.  But it matters to people to be respected.  For parents to bring their children to a strange place–it relieves stress a bit to know they are in a nice place.”

Madison-based company FLOOR360 spearheaded the redesign project.  FLOOR360 provides residential and commercial flooring services across the Midwest.  FLOOR360 chose the Center For Families as the Design For a Difference charity for 2015, and hit the ground running.  Thanks to Brava Magazine, Steinhafels learned about the project, and instantly wanted to get involved!  It was a match made in heaven, as the designers were in need of several high-impact furniture pieces–including a sofa, loveseat, ottoman, and desk.  We’ll get to those in a minute!

Co-lead designer Caren King was integral in working with Steinhafels to find the PERFECT pieces to match the design theme, which is a “park” setting–focusing on bright oranges and greens.  King adds, “I wanted the whole space to flow, even though we had thirteen designers.”

Those 13 designers worked for months coming up with plans, and tracking down the needed materials from various companies across the community.  Then, at the beginning of October, they transformed the center in just 9 days!!  As you can see in these pictures–the transformation is jaw-dropping!

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Miller was in awe when she saw the finished product.  As she says with extreme honesty and sincerity, “We’re used to, ‘It’s good enough, it’s good enough for people who are poor,’ and what we have now is better than good enough!”

The big reveal event was a success!  Parents and children who attend the Center also had the chance to see the new space for the first time.  King exclaims, “It’s unbelievable.  Just seeing the families come in today… it was overwhelming to see their response.”

Oh, back to the furniture part… here’s a look at our furniture in the new space.  As you can tell, the pieces are already making themselves at home!

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For Steinhafels, it’s humbling to be involved in projects like these.  The furniture we donate is just a small part of something so much bigger than any of us.  Each year we give back to the community by participating with more than 100 local nonprofit organizations.  We are excited to now include the Center For Families in that list, and look forward to many more projects in the years to come!

For more information and video of the big reveal event, check out the NBC15 story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LS7Ux8cBfw