Sam Van Hellgren, 4PeteSake
Spring Green, WI – When the Covid-19 pandemic forced Spring Green’s 4PeteSake charity to cancel its largest fundraising event of the year – the annual Day in the Park – the future of the organization looked uncertain. The single-day event typically raises over $40,000.
“The money we raise during the year goes right back into the River Valley community, directly to recipients,” said 4PeteSake’s Todd Miller. “Without the visibility that the Day in the Park gives us, there was a concern that it would impact our ability to raise the kind of money we have in the past—and to offer financial assistance to those in need.”
Since 2005, generous contributions from area residents and businesses have allowed 4PeteSake to provide assistance to more than 90 River Valley residents facing economic hardship as the results of a medical crisis.
But despite the pandemic and despite the cancellation of the Day in the Park, the River Valley community did not forget about 4PeteSake. Employing fundraising efforts like a House on the Rock golf outing; virtual run, walk and bike rides; a lemonade stand – and hugely successful mailing and online campaigns – the organization was able to raise enough to cover funding rounds for both Fall 2020—and Spring 2021. Applications for 4PeteSake’s Spring Funding round are due on March 15th. A decision about this year’s Day in the Park will be made later in the year.
Fall 2020 4PeteSake recipients were: Natalie Nicoll and Alaxandria Deneen from Lone Rock; Shawna and Andrew Fromfeld from Plain; and Regina Caldwell, Heloise Idstein, and Theresa Rupp from Spring Green.
Donations to 4PeteSake can be made online at 4petesake.com or through the mail to P.O. Box 577 Spring Green, WI 53588. Checks should be made out to Christ Lutheran Church/4PeteSake.
Fall 2020 Recipients
For Lone Rock’s Alax Deneen, 4PeteSake kept a terrible year from becoming a catastrophic one. “I wouldn’t have a place to live without 4PeteSake,” says the 2012 River Valley grad and mom of two. Early in 2020, Deneen learned that she carried the same cancer mutation that had afflicted her mom. She had surgery in July, but then she developed a life-threatening infection that sent her back to the hospital. During her recovery, she lost her job. Bills started piling up before she turned to 4PeteSake. “They helped me when I really needed it,” says Deneen. “It’s amazing that we have something like them in our community.”
“There are people in this community that don’t make a lot of money, that need help,” says Spring Green’s Theresa Rupp. The Rockford native moved to the River Valley in the early 90s, wanting to raise her kids in a place where they could just “be.” They took to the country, learning to fish, hunt and camp. She’s called Paulus Road home now for 18 years. She and her three grandkids love watching the deer out her windows. On a fixed income and battling multiple health issues, Rupp reached out to 4PeteSake when she started to fall behind.
Natalie Nicoll is a fighter. She’d lost six siblings to cancer when she was diagnosed herself in 2014. She beat it. “The doctor came in and told me ‘you’re cancer-free.’ I couldn’t believe it.” But in August of last year, the cancer returned. “I’m 84 – 85 in March – and I want to take one more trip,” she says. Nicoll had an itinerant upbringing, moving from New York state as a child to places as far-flung as southern California, Waco, TX, Douglas, AZ, and Goldfield, NV (now one of the country’s most famous ghost towns). She settled with family in the River Valley in the early 70s. She currently lives in Lone Rock with her son, her daughter-in-law and her five-year-old chihuahua Faun. She has plans to visit family in Oregon in the summer. 4PeteSake has been able to help with expenses while Nicoll undergoes treatment.
Caldwell and her family moved to Spring Green in 2019. They loved it here. 8th grader Zach started a successful lawn and snow removal business. But then in April of last year, Caldwell’s husband David suffered a heart attack, requiring triple bypass surgery. It sent the family reeling. Uninsured and without a steady source of income, Regina did what she could to keep the family of four fed and a roof over their head. She applied for loans and used the food pantry. But she was still falling behind. That was when someone suggested that Caldwell reach out to 4PeteSake. “If anyone out there needs help, they should apply,” says Caldwell. “They helped us so much.”
“The universe opened its helping hands for me,” says Spring Green’s Heloise Idstein. Idstein – a native of South Africa, who moved to the area in 2015 with her husband Frank Chaffee – received a cancer diagnosis in May of last year. She was uninsured. “It felt like the bottom had fallen out,” she says. Scared and anxious about the financial toll the diagnosis would take on her and Frank – and worried about not having a reliable vehicle to get her to treatments – she recalls running an errand to People’s Community Bank, where she was told: “There is help.” A day later, she got a call from Stef Morrill at River Valley Commons, who put her in touch with 4PeteSake. “The people in this community really help,” says Idstein. “They don’t just offer help, they jump right in.” 4PeteSake worked with Darlington’s Virtue Motors to get Idstein a car, which proved its reliability earlier this year when she experienced a medical emergency. “We could have taken an ambulance—or the car,” says Idstein. “We took the car.”
Shawna and Andrew Fromfeld
The Fromfelds and their 11 year-old twins were expecting 2020 to be a challenging year, but what they got was so much more than they anticipated. In November, 2019, Shawna was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In December, she learned that it wasn’t a single tumor—it was two. Surgery was scheduled for April, 2020, but when Covid hit, it was postponed. And that’s when the Plain family got more news: they were about to become foster parents. “We were approved to foster in early 2019 and had been waiting for a placement,” explains Shawna. “And just when my surgery got delayed, we learned we’d been selected.” Two brothers, 7 and 9, soon joined the Fromfeld household. Shawna finally had her surgery in June, but remained out of work for months while she recovered. The family – now six – needed help. A school counselor referred them to 4PeteSake. “They understand that it wasn’t just not just the big things that we needed help with,” says Shawna. “But the daily bills that can get overlooked when you’re focused on the biggies. They’re miracle workers.” The Fromfelds are looking forward to taking their first family vacation together in 2021.
•To make an online contribution, visit 4petesake.com or send checks to P.O. Box 577 Spring Green, WI 53588. Checks should be made out to Christ Lutheran Church/4PeteSake.
•4PeteSake thanks the River Valley Community for 16 years of generous support!
Apply for assistance
•The next funding cycle is scheduled for Spring, 2021.
•Additional information and application forms are available online at 4petesake.com.
•Applications are also available at Arcadia Books, 102 E. Jefferson Street in Spring Green.
•Completed applications should be mailed to: 4PeteSake, P.O. Box 577, Spring Green, WI.
•Applicants may also write to the address above to request that an application be sent to them.
•Questions about the application process may be directed to 4PeteSake Committee
Member Todd Miller at 608-588-4619.
4PeteSake provides funds for River Valley residents who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in health-related circumstances and are in need of financial assistance. Applicants must be residents of the River Valley School District.
Since 2005, 4PeteSake has provided over $1.2 million of assistance to more than 90 recipients.
4PeteSake is run by a 9-member, volunteer group. The independent committee is part of the public outreach program of Christ Lutheran Church, which gives 4PeteSake access to a 501(c) 3 organization, allowing contributions to be tax-deductible.
The committee chooses at least one recipient each year through an application process. Recipients must live within the boundaries of the River Valley School District and find themselves in circumstances, through no fault of their own, for which assistance is needed. All recipients must have had medically related needs.
The group’s mission is to raise money to assist recipients in a way that can substantially change their circumstances and impact their quality of life.
For more information on how to participate in 4PeteSake, visit www.4PeteSake.com.