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Neighbors at 744 Ryan Drive in Hudson, the Hudson Insurance Co. and First National Community Bank have decided to show their support for the work of Turningpoint by being collection and donation sites for the shelter. Anyone donating $20 or more receives a doll like the ones being held by employees of both the agency and the bank. From left are Nicole Zimmer, Al Duchnowski and Jayne Bahneman, all of Hudson Insurance Agency, Bonnie Schmitz, Lisa Evans, Holly Johnson and Bryan Woitas, all of First National...

Hudson businesses support Turningpoint

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business River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
715-386-9891 customer support
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Turningpoint, the domestic abuse shelter that serves St. Croix and Pierce counties, may be physically located in River Falls but support for the work they do extends much farther.

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When Al Duchnowski of Hudson Insurance Agency, 744 Ryan Drive, and his staff heard about Turningpoint, they approached the organization and asked what they could do to help.

With help from Liz Malanaphy, Turningpoint's volunteer program manager, the insurance office is now a drop-off point for donations of items like laundry soap, paper products and personal care items for the shelter. They also collect used cell phones that can be turned into cash to benefit the organization.

Malanaphy said that Duchnowski and his staff suggested making a contact with their neighbor in the building, First National Community Bank, to see if they would be interested in doing something to support the shelter and they were.

The offer was a perfect fit for something else Malanaphy was working on. Just a short time before her death in March, Dianne Meixner, an art therapist from Hudson, offered close to 1,000 of her "Deecha Dolls" to Turningpoint to use as they see fit.

The dolls were created by Meixner who used the artwork of children affected by domestic abuse as her inspiration.

Today, anyone who makes a donation of $20 or more will receive one of the dolls as a thank you and a reminder of Meixner's work as well as Turningpoint's. The dolls are being distributed at both Hudson Insurance and the bank.

Nicole Zimmer of Hudson Insurance Agency said that there is a lot of local interest in Turningpoint based on feedback from their clients. Malanaphy hopes other businesses and organizations in the area will follow by becoming drop sites or finding other ways to lend their support.

She cites the shelter's mission statement which says in part to "empower those who have experienced domestic or sexual violence by providing them with the resources to achieve freedom from violence through community support and education". 

In addition to the support of local businesses, Hudson area groups like Faith Formation at St. Patrick Catholic Church and local Girl Scout Troop 53205 have found ways to support Turningpoint.

"The donations we receive help us with that mission. But there is also another benefit to these drop locations, which is simply to let people know that we are here if they need us. To bring these boxes and our name, and our mission into these central locations in every community is to say that we can talk about this issue, and support those who are suffering because of it," said Malanaphy.

The fourth annual Pottery for Prevention, a fundraiser for the shelter featuring pottery by local artists, began with the support of another Hudson business, Seasons on St. Croix and owner Ruth Misenko. The event has grown and this year it will be held at a larger venue, The Phipps Center for the Arts on April 27.

For more information about becoming a drop-off site for Turningpoint contact Malanaphy at lizm@turningpoint-wi.org or by calling (715) 425-5761. To find a wish list for the shelter or to make a cash donation go to www.turningpoint-wi.org.

See page 10A of the April 4 print edition of the Star-Observer for more photos from this story.

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Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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