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.

 

 

Fisher House & Steinhafels: Helping Military Families Find a Home Away From Home

It’s a project more than 5 years in the making, but the Fisher House Wisconsin is now officially open for business!  Steinhafels is proud to have played a part in making that happen.

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The Fisher House Foundation provides a network of comfort homes, where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.  There are currently 70 locations on the grounds of military and VA medical facilities throughout the United States, as well as Germany and the United Kingdom.  The program began in 1990.

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Steinhafels knew right away that this was a project we wanted to be a part of.  As Marketing Director Dirk Stallmann explains, “The Fisher House is such a wonderful way to give back to the men and women serving our country, particularly those who are recovering from injury or illness.  Providing a convenient place for their families to stay during their time of need provides countless benefits.”

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Wisconsin’s new Fisher House sits on the picturesque campus of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.  Steinhafels was honored to be invited to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 23.

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It was a gorgeous day for the ceremony, and hundreds came out to recognize our brave heroes.  The program began with a Presentation of the Colors and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.  Distinguished guests included retired military, medical professionals, and Ken Fisher–CEO and Chairman of the Fisher House Foundation.

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However, the most touching part of the morning was definitely an emotional speech by Michael Halula.  Michael’s son David sustained a traumatic brain injury in 2007 during a car crash.  It happened just before he was scheduled to deploy.  After receiving acute care at the Milwaukee VA, David was transferred to the Minneapolis VA for rehab.  He remained there for 11 months.  During that time, Michael and his wife visited David on the weekends, and stayed at the Minneapolis VA Fisher House.  Their story is just one example of the 277,000 families served by Fisher Houses since 1990.

Steinhafels takes part in many community events, but this one is extra special.  As Stallmann notes, “We are in the business to help create the home of our customers’ dreams, and the Fisher House Wisconsin was a perfect tie.”

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But we are just one small piece of this amazing puzzle.  This project truly shows how generous the people of Milwaukee are, and how much we support our veterans.  We are the first community ever to raise enough funds for a Fisher House before construction even began!  This wasn’t all that surprising to those who live here in Wisconsin.  As Stallmann explains, “When seeing the house, my heart swelled with pride for our entire state.  This house was built with the love and generosity of so many donors, and serves as another example of why Wisconsin is so special.”

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The home has a cozy feeling, but measures a roomy 13,000 square feet.  It includes 16 private suites and a communal kitchen and living area for people traveling at least 50 miles to be with family members getting treatment at the VA medical center.  Those who attended Saturday’s ceremony got a chance to get a first glimpse inside the home!

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If the house is at capacity, the Fisher House will pay for those families to stay in a nearby hotel.  This truly shows the foundation’s commitment to our community, our veterans, and their families.  We are so proud to be a part of this fantastic mission!

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Click HERE for a full gallery of photos from the ceremony and house tour.

Click HERE for video of the ribbon-cutting.

Click HERE for behind-the-scenes video from the house tour!

 

Special Spaces & Steinhafels: A Shared Mission of Creating Dream Spaces

Here at Steinhafels we are of course very proud of our stores, products, and the high quality we offer our customers.  However, just as important is our commitment to the communities we serve.  So teaming up with Special Spaces was a no brainer.  They help make dreams come true through furniture, and so do we!!

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As Special Spaces explains on its website, the mission is simple but zealous:  “We create dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical illnesses.  This is a place that only the child can dream or imagine while addressing his or her medical needs.  Our focus is answering one question; Where does a child go when battling a serious illness to find peace and comfort?”

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We had the pleasure of talking with Ann Swain of the local chapter of Special Spaces, to learn a little more about the program to share with you, our blog readers.  Special Spaces was actually founded in Tennessee in 2004.  The founder has family ties to Wisconsin, and the organization started working on projects here in 2012.  Nationally, they have redesigned about 600 rooms, including 50 here in the Badger state.

Swain is devoted to Special Spaces.  As she explains, “I’m passionate about making a difference in our community.  We have 4 healthy children, and we like to think that together we make a difference.  We couldn’t do what we do without the amazing directors.”

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Steinhafels is just one of many organizations that has donated to help create dream rooms for these special little boys and girls.  It means a lot to many of our employees, and it shows.  Swain says, “We love Steinhafels on so many different levels.  We love the people, and all of the workers we have dealt with.”

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Nothing is more powerful than hearing from the recipient families themselves. Here are just a couple testimonials:

“The boys just love it!  Brayden was Star of the Week at school and shared his whole Special Spaces experience.  They thought he was a celebrity.  Thank you!”

“Special Spaces is an amazing group of people that come together to bring smiles, laughter, and a positive outlook for families who are struggling.  It’s not a one time event; it’s a gift that stays with you for years to come.”

Steinhafels also had the honor of helping to “set the stage” for the Special Spaces Dream BIG Gala just a few weeks ago.  It’s a magical evening for everyone, and vital to keeping the mission going.

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If you’d like to learn more about Special Spaces, check out the group’s WEBSITE, FACEBOOK page, and video on YOUTUBE.  You can help make a child’s dream come true!