Bus tour showcases resources for hunger, homelessness

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MARATHON COUNTY, Wis. (WSAW) -- It's an unseen problem in many of our communities, homelessness and hunger. The United Way of Marathon County is helping to change that.

On Friday the United Way of Marathon County gave community leaders a bus tour of local shelters and food pantries to highlight the importance of these resources and inform the community about what is out there for help.

More than 600 people have utilized area warming shelters in Wausau last year because they had no where else to go.

It is something that a lot of us may take for granted but for others it is something they have to worry about everyday. It's not what you think. "Many times people might have a perception of what a person who is struggling with housing is enduring and when they talk to people they realize it could be one of many things," explained Pam Anderson, Co-Chair of the Housing and Homelessness Coalition at the United Way of Marathon County.

It can be anyone of us that needs help getting food or shelter but the good news is Marathon County has a lot of resources. So community leaders packed on a city bus and informed each rider from different occupations about the resources to help in our area. The bus took the group to the warming center, the Neighbor's Place and the Salvation Army.

"I think we have a lot of great options a lot of things people really don't know about so I think getting the word out is very important," said Stephanie Mohrmann, of the Woodson YMCA.

Riders also saw there are areas that need improvement. "I didn't realize the need for transportation was so high in the downtown area. I live in Weston so talking to people to find out what we need to do and who we need to talk to get the bus lines improved," said Mohrmann.

At each stop you would hear about the impact that each place was making. Just this week the warming shelter was able to find a home for a 96-year-old veteran who had been homeless for 45 years within 36 hours of first hearing his needs.

"The resources are so great here the community is so great wanting to know and then once they become educated and informed they are so willing to help so the Marathon County and Wausau community is phenomenal," said Anderson.

To find out more information or how you can help click here.