36 years ago, several local churches sought a solution.
Stepping Stones marked its 36th anniversary in 2022. The organization, originally called Interfaith Volunteers, began in 1986 when several local churches, concerned about the unmet needs of elderly residents in Dunn County, began what is now known as the Community Connections Program. Volunteers were linked to seniors and people with disabilities to provide services which enabled them to live independently as long as possible. In 1994, community leaders began investigating the need for a homeless shelter. This resulted in the opening of the first Stepping Stones Shelter, offering transitional and emergency shelter, case management, and housing referral services. In 2014, in order to address increased need, we expanded the shelter program to an additional location so more people could be served. In 1996, the organization's third program, the Food Pantry, began to offer free food to low income households. Initially, the pantry was located in the basement of the Broadway shelter as a compliment to services already provided there, but growing demand required successive moves to larger facilities. Since 2011 the pantry and Stepping Stones’ offices have been located at 1602 Stout Rd., Menomonie. This space is over twice the size of the previous one and positions Stepping Stones to serve the community for many years to come.
What Guides Us
• All people have the right to nutritious food, adequate housing, and other needed support services.
• Sufficient resources exist in our community to provide supportive services and prevent hunger and homelessness.
• Stepping Stones advocates for the just and equitable sharing of resources.
• Stepping Stones is committed to the sustainable use of resources, including economic, environmental, and personal resources to assure their availability and abundance in the present and the future.
• Individuals reach their full potential, and achieve balance and wellness through connections to community.
• Stepping Stones’ services provide bridges to community, to stability, and to self-sufficiency.
• Community is fostered by nurturing inclusivity and diversity.
• The effectiveness, talent, and commitment of volunteers and staff are critical to the success of Stepping Stones’ mission.
• Staff must be equipped to accomplish their responsibilities, and provided with just compensation.
• Clients, volunteers, and staff cooperate to create a caring, respectful, trusting atmosphere and to engage in work that is mutually rewarding.
• Work and service spaces that are pleasant, well maintained, and suited to the needs of the service will best facilitate Stepping Stones’ mission.
Meet The Team
Board of Directors
President: Jerry Porter, Retired Engineering Manager, 3M
Vice-President: Katie Kramschuster, Librarian, UW-Stout
Treasurer: Mark Kalscheur, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage
Secretary: Wendy Slaback, Pastor, Menomonie United Methodist Church
Loren Barker, Lutheran Pastor, retired
Bev Deyo-Svendsen, Retired Academic Dept. Associate, UW-Stout
Barbara Fagan, Asst. Corporation Counsel, Dunn County
Maggie Fischer, Sr. Engagement Specialist-Vol. Serv., American Red Cross
Tara Bergeson, VP of Marketing, WESTconsin Credit Union
Michelle Kloser, Director of Nutrition Services, Menomonie Area School District
Nina Koch, Retired Educator
Nichole Manson, Recovering Addict & Advocate for Sustainable Food Usage
Paul Schwartz, Rehabilitation engineer, Business owner
Rod Smeltzer, Retired Dunn County Circuit Court Judge