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A season of giving


The focus of the Packers Women's Association is hands-on service to the community, and they didn't disappoint this past holiday season.

Through the Salvation Army's "Adopt-a-Family" program, PWA members were connected with families in need and bought them necessities and holiday gifts.

Officially formed in 1996, the Packers Women's Association (PWA) is solely made up of Green Bay Packers players' and coaches' wives and girlfriends.

This year, the program was led by Outside Linebackers Coach Kevin Greene's wife, Tara Greene, and center Scott Wells' wife, Julie Wells.

In its 15th year with the program, the PWA's participation has remained strong, while hosting 19 families this season.

"Typically, the members and their significant others will shop together for all the gifts. They really get involved in it and have a lot of fun together," said Sherry Schuldes, manager of family programs for the Packers.

"Some families even bring their children along, which is a great learning experience in generosity."

Once the gifts were purchased, another gift awaited the adopted family. The PWA gave each family a gift certificate to buy food for a holiday meal.

Their giving did not stop there.

The PWA members sourced and bought all sorts of holiday decorations to brighten up the home of a needy family.

The PWA worked with the Ecumenical Partnership for Housing (EPH) for the first time. EPH is a comprehensive partnership of local churches and The Salvation Army. Its mission is to provide rent-free housing to eligible families with children, and the case-management support required to help them achieve a life of hope, security and self-sufficiency.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk's wife, Laura Hawk, was the PWA chairperson instrumental in making this project a success.

"Kathy Clements and I are both interior designers and thought, what better way to put our skills to good use?" Hawk said. "We wanted to give it a traditional holiday feel and make it bright, fun and cheerful for the children living there."

A family that is in a home the PWA helped provide has recently been chosen by Habitat for Humanity to receive a permanent home.

"The family really appreciated everything the PWA had done for them this past holiday season," said Dave Pietenpol, executive director of EPH.

"The PWA created memories for the family that will last a lifetime. We hope there will be many more opportunities for us to work together in making a difference for our families."

After wreaths, garland and decorations were purchased or donated directly by PWA members, a few members even visited the home to help put their own holiday touch on the decorating process.

"We really just wanted to help brighten up the family's home during the holidays," "Hawk said.

"There were a few women that helped decorate but everyone in the PWA contributed to making this holiday a reality for the family. We were humbled during the experience and so appreciative for the opportunity to make a difference."

Over the years, PWA has purchased a home for a homeless family, held rummage sales, published two cookbooks, worked with area youth, visited local nursing homes, honored military families, participated in local run/walks and numerous other projects.

The PWA is a non-profit organization.

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