Edgerton Community Outreach assistance programs in Rock County.

There are several main programs offered by Edgerton Community Outreach. They range from emergency funds for rent and paying housing expenses to free food. Children can also receive help in the form of Christmas assistance or weekend meals from the Backpack Program. The non-profit is one of the leading social service agencies in Rock County.

The Food Pantry is ECO most utilized and visible program. It assists the largest number of residents, and it does so by furnishing them with free supplemental groceries and/or fresh food. The pantry may have free canned goods, milk, breads, fresh fruits and vegetables, and frozen items. One way this is done is from their chest freezers and refrigerators, and those enable the agency to accept a great variety and amount of fresh and frozen donated foods from the greater Rock County community.

It takes numerous sources of food and non-perishables to keep the pantry’s shelves stocked, and ECO relies on donations to maintain its supplies as well. In some cases, Edgerton Community Outreach is also able to purchase food for the pantry through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Madison Wisconsin, which offers greatly reduced prices when compared to retail. Another resource they rely on is the USDA sponsored Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). As they become available diapers, free personal care items, paper goods, and household cleaning supplies are also furnished to customers.

A nutritious breakfast is vital for children, no matter their age, to be successful in school. To meet this need, ECO and several local churches launched the Breakfast Club service at the Community Elementary School. It is offered multiple times per week, with volunteers serving free breakfasts consisting of cereal, juice, and fruit to students. Currently, all Edgerton School District students cause this service in order to get free breakfasts on a daily basis, regardless of family income.

Housing resources include the Emergency Shelter. This uses funding provided by the State of Wisconsin, the Salvation Army, federal grants, and Thrift Store sales. All the money raised is used to shelter the homeless through the provision of motel vouchers, or to pay for a security deposit.





Typically, ECO can finance up to two weeks of lodging while the family or individual looks for stable, permanent housing in Rock County. This may even be in a local motel. ECO collaborates with local homeless shelters, including the House of Mercy and the Gifts Men’s Shelter, to avoid duplication of services as well.

While more limited, the non-profit provides transitional housing for homeless families at the Lawton Street Home. Furnishing families with this type of mid to long-term housing gives participants the opportunity to work with case managers. They will then be able to learn life skills, address lack of money management, and gain other necessary skills needed to be more independent and self-sufficient when they leave the program. Rent is due from the guest, and the amount will be based on family income.

The ECO Emergency Rent Assistance Program operates on the idea that it is more cost effective to be pro-active. So it is better for everyone to keep an individual or a family in their current home or apartment rather than be reactive. As monies become available through FEMA funding, Emergency Solution Grants, and grants from a number of smaller foundations, Edgerton Community Outreach provides financial assistance to tenants who have been given notice to pay their rent or vacate their homes. It can also help with utility disconnections. Find additional resources that offer same day or emergency rent help.

Case managers work with the clients to assess their financial situation, determine the extent of the need for long term support, and then develop goal based plans that will enable the individuals to maintain expenses after any form of emergency financial assistance for bills or rent is given. The case management services are frequently as valuable to the participant as the financial assistance issued from ESG, as it provides them a solution in the form of knowledge, skills, and tools.

School, Christmas, and holiday programs from ECO

Students can apply for the Backpack Program. This makes back-to-school supplies as well as food items available to Edgerton School District students prior to the start of each school year or on the weekends. Parents are encouraged to register their students as early as possible. This program is made possible through a partnership between individual donors, local churches, ECO, churches and the Dave Pierce American Family Insurance Agency, which promotes the annual Stuff the Bus Campaign. Find additional programs that offer free school supplies.

There are also holiday and Easter Programs available each year. These services are for families living in the Edgerton School district. Residents are invited to register to receive a free meal, such as a ham basket. There will also be all the fixings for a traditional Easter meal, through the ECO Food Pantry. Also, parents can register through the office to receive Easter Baskets for their two to fourteen-year-old children.





The Giving Tree Program provides Christmas gifts for Edgerton School District children in sixth through twelfth grade. Lists are passed out across Rock County with needed and even wanted items. They are distributed at local churches. Members then go shopping, pick up the toys or goods requested by the child, wrap them, and return them to their churches, to be distributed by ECO.

Gifts for Kids is a partner agency. This non-profit provides free gifts as well as toys for children at Christmas. The program is separate from ECO but families in need of assistance with obtaining a Christmas present for their children can register.

Edgerton Community Outreach is located at 106 South Main Street, Edgerton, Wisconsin 53534. Call (608) 884-9593 for more information.


By Jon McNamara

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