Mason Companies, Inc. of Chippewa Falls has donated $150 to the University of Wisconsin-Stout Helping Hand food pantry plus career closet.
Mason Companies, which owns and operates 10 businesses that sell everything from shoes and apparel to bedding and electronics through its E-Commerce websites and direct mail catalogs, made the donation through $150 in gift cards donated to the Fall Career Conference sponsored by Career Services.
Katie Hauge, Career Services employee relations manager, used the Mason Companies gift cards to purchase needed items for the career closet, with Mason Companies blessing. The items were delivered Wednesday, Jan. 29 to the career closet by Hauge and Chantel Formeister, human resources business partner for Mason Companies and Jennifer Krueger, corporate recruitment and compensation manager for Mason Companies.
“It is clothing that students would wear for job interviews or to the Career Conference,” Hauge said. “We want students to be able to present themselves as professionals. It is extremely generous of Mason Companies to give the gift cards.”
At Mason Companies we have the philosophy of giving back to the community where we live, work and play,” said Krueger, who earned her undergraduate degree in retail merchandising and management and her master’s degree in education from UW-Stout. “Having the right clothes for an interview, we hope will make the students feel more comfortable and give a better interview. We want them to do as stellar of a job as they can.”
The partnerships with companies, including Mason Companies, is what makes the Career Conferences held at UW-Stout successful, Hauge said. “It’s all about connecting our students with employers for fulltime co-ops, internships and jobs,” said Hauge, who earned her graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling at UW-Stout in 2014. Hauge also did an internship at Career Services when she was a student.
Mason Companies has attended both the fall and spring Career Conferences since 2017, was an Employer in Residence in fall 2019 and participated in the job shadow program in January. The company employs 29 fulltime UW-Stout alumni.
Sarah Snyder, pantry coordinator and residence life coordinator in University Housing, said she was excited the Helping Hand food pantry plus career closet received the donated items from Mason Companies.
“I was surprised and happy when they reached out and asked if it was something we would be interested in,” Snyder said. “It’s a great partnership all the way around.”
Helping Hand food pantry plus opened in April 2019. It is located on the fourth floor of Bowman Hall, where the career closet is also located. The career closet opened in September.
Clothing in the career closet is all donated and is new or gently worn. The career closet is most in need of men’s clothing, including shirts, pants, suit jackets and shoes.
“I was surprised how many coats we have given out,” Snyder said, noting about a dozen students have needed winter coats.
Food pantry provides recipes, fresh produce
The food pantry has been used by 53 students. Eighteen students weekly get food from the pantry. “Every week we get one to five new people come to use it,” Snyder said.
The most popular item at the food shelf is Japanese noodles made by adding water and heating them in a microwave. They are popular because of the ease of cooking, Snyder said. Frozen items such as breakfast sandwiches and burritos are also popular. The pantry offers recipes based on foods that they have available. Fresh produce is available each week during the semester from Stepping Stones of Dunn County.
An account has been set up with Stout University Foundation to make donations to Helping Hand. Checks must be made to the Foundation and designate Helping Hand food pantry. Mail donations to: Stout University Foundation, 320 S. Broadway St., Menomonie, Wis., 54751. To contact the Foundation, call 715-232-5161.
Items may also be donated when the pantry is open. The pantry and career closet is open from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday or by appointment. For an appointment email email@example.com or visit the Facebook page Stout Helping Hand.
Spring Career Conference
The spring Career Conference is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 3-4, at the Multipurpose Room of the Sports and Fitness Center. Over 370 employers are expected to be at the conference, from Fortune 500 companies to regional employers. About 2,000 students and alumni seeking professional positions and co-op internship experiences attend the Career Conference events each year. It is one of the largest Career Conferences in the Midwest. Employers interested in attending can learn more and register online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-232-1601.
The Fall Career Conference is scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 29-30.
The spring Career Conference is Tuesday and Wednesday, March 3-4, at the Multipurpose Room of the Sports and Fitness Center. Over 370 employers are expected at the conference.
About 2,000 students and alumni seeking professional positions and co-op internship experiences attend the Career Conference events each year.