Marshfield Area United Way to have new home
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Due to the generosity of an area family, the Marshfield Area United Way will have a new, permanent home.
In September 2019, the organization was the recipient of a home at 612 West Blodgett, Marshfield, previously owned by the Nancy and Verlyn Heckel family.
The Heckels had plans for the home – once their children were off to build lives of their own they would undergo a large remodeling project.
“The objectives of the remodel would be two-fold,” said daughter, Heidi Heckel. “1. When their children had their own families, the house would be large enough that the whole family could stay at the house. 2. Also, they could design the upstairs bedrooms so they could be rented out to people who had loved ones up at the hospital that they may be visiting.”
Verlyn drew up the blueprints, but passed away before the plans could be implemented.
Nancy followed through on their dream, but when she was diagnosed with cancer, she made new plans for the family home.
“If any of her children wanted to move back to Marshfield, the house would be theirs. If no one wanted this option, then the house would be donated to charity for them to use – not sell,” Heidi explained.
“Mom’s original vision was to utilize the house for community housing – loved ones of those receiving treatment at the hospital, a domestic violence shelter, etc. However, logistically it did not work out in that exact manor. I cannot remember if it was a friend or relative that recommended asking the United Way if they knew of any charities that may also be interested. That led me to stopping by the United Way office and talking to Ashley Winch.”
That’s where the idea was born for the United Way to locate into the house as its permanent home.
“After learning more about the work Marshfield Area United Way does in the community, we knew this would be a good fit,” Heidi added. “United Way provides funding for several organizations that Mom was passionate about. It was extra-special that the Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) program would be run out of the house.”
For six years, the United Way has been operating the NOW program, providing supplemental weekend food to children facing food insecurity, using hundreds of volunteers out of a multiuse space in a rented facility. The house will provide dedicated workspace for this purpose and will likely save thousands of dollars in overhead expenses, which can be reallocated and invested in the community.
Before the organization can use the new facility, the building must become compliant with commercial building regulations and functional for its purpose.
To do this, the United Way is seeking the public’s help in raising $75,000. Opportunities are available through naming rights, a “100 Nurturing Families Campaign” – gifts of $100 or more, and goodwill donations in any denomination.
Any additional funds will be used toward deferred maintenance. Campaign donations will be used solely for house redevelopment and no partner programs will be affected by the renovations.
The campaign already got a huge boost from the Kim and Cheryl Heiman Family Foundation, who donated $25,000 in memory of Herb and Lorinda Hoffman.
United Way staff hopes to be in the new facilities by August 2020, in time for packing NOW program lunches for the 2020-21 school year.
“Marshfield Area United Way has been committed to improving the quality of life in the Marshfield area by addressing our community’s most pressing needs for nearly 75 years,” said United Way Director Ashley Winch. “This donation to our United Way is a wonderful gesture that will make a lasting impact to not only our organization, but to our entire community for years to come.”
To make a donation, contact the United Way at PO Box 771, Marshfield, or 715-384-9992.
History of the Heckel House
Courtesy of Heidi Heckel
The house was built in 1918. It was the church house for the Heckel family who lived five miles out in the country on County Road Y.
The Heckels would complete their farm chores on Saturday morning, then take the wagons into town so they could go to church the next day. That night and the time after church was time for the family, friends, and the community to get together.
In the late 1800s, before the house was built, the Heckel family simply came to the plot of land and stayed in the wagons. Eventually, the Heckel family wanted more comfort when they came to town; the house was built in 1918.
“It is this history of the house being a part of their faith with the gathering of family, friends, and the whole community which demonstrated the importance of supporting one another, that I believe touched mom’s heart,” Heidi said. “Mom just wanted the house to continue to be a focal point in Marshfield to support the community and bring it together for the years to come. We know that she is pleased with Marshfield Area United Way being the right stewards of the Heckel homestead going forward.”