Thanks to the Salvation Dane County, many homeless families in Waunakee find shelter and eventually permanent housing.
Brad Zeman, who is chairman of the Salvation Army advisory board, spoke about some of the organization’s initiatives at the Oct. 26 Waunakee Rotary meeting, including plans for a new five-story building on East Washington Avenue in Madison.
Brad is also a Waunakee plan commissioner and lives in Waunakee. He was a former Rotarian in Port Washington, and was a member of the Kiwanis Club, he said.
He left those volunteer organizations when he began a family, but still wanted to give back. Also, while Waunakee is an affluent and fortunate community, he wanted his daughters to see the reality of homelessness in Madison.
“I knew I could have an impact somewhere,” he said.
Also a developer, Brad said when he learned that the City of Madison planned to assess the Salvation Army for a more than $300,000 parking lot, he knew he would work on an alternative with the city council. The Salvation Army could put that money to better use, Brad said, and he was able to reach an amended plan with the city.
The Salvation Army has three facilities that include its offices, its community center on Darbo Drive and homeless shelter on the 600 block of East Washington Avenue.
The women seeking shelter sleep in the gymnasium, and Brad seemed most concerned about the shower facilities – the sort of dormitory showers found in school locker rooms. He noted that many of the women are coming from abusive situations, and then have to sleep in a large gym and shower with other women.
“Where’s the dignity in that?” he asked. “I realized my calling was to get a new building built.”
The advisory council has received grants from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, along with other agencies to begin the project on East Washington Avenue. It is scheduled to be completed in 2019, he said.
The Salvation Army also has six multi-family complexes on the East Side of Madison. This year, 39 families have gone through apartments and 27 have moved out on their own.
“We took the initiative to give these families another chance,” Brad said.
The Salvation Army will pay the first month’s rent and provide assistance on future months.
Altogether, the organization has tripled the number of families served from 2016 to 2017 using the same budget, he said.
Brad said community members raise the most funds for the organization, particularly though the red kettle campaign. Waunakee is one of the key communities for this campaign, and Piggly Wiggly will provide a red shelter outside for the bell ringers this year.
Also this year, a new credit card machine can be used by those who want to donate but don’t carry cash, Brad said.
Just two hours of ringing the bells collects $100 for the Salvation Army, Brad said.
“The most important thing we could do is get you out and ring some bells,” he said.
The Red Kettle campaign will  run from Nov. 10-Dec. 23. To sign up for a two-hour shift, visit
Other news:
–A sign-up sheet was circulated for the Nord Gear tour on Nov. 15. It will start at 4 p.m. and conclude at 6 p.m. There will be a social at Octopi Brewing afterwards
Guests: None.
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Birthdays: Nov. 4, Roxanne Johnson; Nov. 5, Nick Mischler.
Anniversaries: Nov. 6, Tom and Kari Roepke
Greeters: Nov. 2, George Ohlendorf and Joe Olson; Nov. 9, Linda Olson and Ken Pesik; Nob. 16, James Pingel and Robert Pulvermacher; Nov. 30, Corey Randl and Thomas Roepke.