Change Makers

Legacy of love from Wisconsin assisted-living centers

Goats gifted through the World Vision Gift Catalog are benefitting families in Zambia.

West of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the community of Wauwatosa, residents of two assisted-living centers share a deep appreciation for goats and the benefits they bring to families in need more than half a world away.

“Many of our residents have spent their lives on farms and understand the value and sense of worth that animals bring to a family,” says Derek M. Wolter, pastor of Lutheran Home and Harwood Place. “While our residents are limited in many areas of their lives, they are more than glad to support the work of the Gospel both at home and around the world through their offerings.” 

This fellowship of women and men are among the generous givers who choose gifts through the World Vision Gift Catalog to help lift families out of poverty.

While our residents are limited in many areas of their lives, they are more than glad to support the work of the Gospel both at home and around the world through their offerings.—Pastor Derek M. Wolter

“Residents quickly fell in love with goats and their benefit to families in need,” Wolter says. “They are cheerful partners in supporting our brothers and sisters around the world.” 

For the last two years, they’ve gathered their 25-cent bingo wins and $1 personal donations to gift goats through the World Vision Gift Catalog. Since 2017, residents have gifted 98 goats by contributing $9,270. 

Gifting goats bring a multitude of blessings. The milk provides protein and nourishment to help children grow, and goats help diversify a family’s income. 

“This, by far, is our most popular mission outreach,” says Carey Bartlett, spokeswoman for Lutheran Home and Harwood Place. Mission outreach offerings are collected on the fourth and fifth Sundays of the month and on holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Easter. 

Two residents, Ruth Reitz and Wally Kruger, who have since passed away, had championed the cause. 

“The loving Ruth — who has since passed — was the initial backer of this ministry,” says Carey. “She was interested in world missions. She felt we should support causes that helped people meet the needs of their families through some kind of interactive source.” 

Another former resident, Wally Krueger, grew up on a farm and was also committed to the cause. Wally served in World War II and was part of the Nuremberg Trials, translating German to English for the U.S. Army, Bartlett says. 

“He served in Germany during the occupation, witnessed farm families struggle, and recognized the value of farm animals to families in poverty,” Carey says. “He was a big supporter of the goats program, and Wally would remind other residents that the collection would be happening on that week and that it was for goats.”  

This Christmas, the tradition of gifting through the Gift Catalog will continue, one goat at a time.

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