GREEN BAY — There was a common goal in the Lambeau Field Atrium on Tuesday night for a group of approximately 200 volunteers: to give back to the local community and work feverishly to make a positive impact on those who are in need.
For the sixth year, "Ladies of Lambeau," an inclusive group of women involved with the Packers organization, gathered to turn their efforts toward charity.
Led by Laurie Murphy, wife of Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy, the "Ladies of Lambeau" formed an assembly line to fill 2,500 backpacks with a variety of items – from hygienic supplies (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion) to fun items (Frisbees).
Ladies of Lambeau assembled in the Lambeau Field Atrium on Tuesday to fill backpacks with hygienic supplies for charities in Green Bay and Milwaukee. Photos by Matt Haberkamp, packers.com.
The backpacks will be given to Special Olympics programs in Green Bay and Milwaukee, as well as for those who need them in other Milwaukee Public Schools Department of Recreation programs.
Murphy's interest in forming the "Ladies of Lambeau" was almost immediate upon the family's arrival in Green Bay.
"When we moved here, I wanted to have something that got all of the women together," Laurie Murphy said. "I decided to start a charity. It's worked out really well. The women that are associated with the Packers are hard-working and they're always up for it. It's always so much fun."
Membership of "Ladies of Lambeau" is varied – participants include employees and spouses of players, coaches and board members.
"It's a really diverse group of ladies from all walks of life," said Denise Highsmith, wife of Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith. "We get together for the community and it's really, really fun. It means a lot. It's really exciting to give back."
Since its inception in 2011, "Ladies of Lambeau" has targeted a different beneficiary for each year's project.
- In 2011, food was packaged for Stop Hunger Now, which distributed it to partner schools around the world to feed starving children.
- The second year of the program led to several hundred fleece blankets being made for various local nursing homes. Members of "Ladies of Lambeau" visited with seniors in the community and presented them the blankets.
- The group filled hundreds of backpacks with supplies in Year 3. Backpacks were given to families who were leaving domestic abuse shelters and starting fresh lives.
- Stop Hunger Now again received food in 2014. Between the efforts of '11 and '14, "Ladies of Lambeau" has donated over 100,000 meals to children throughout the world.
- Last year, an entire playground was built at Fireman's Park in Green Bay.
As each year passes, the group of women continues to grow.
"It's been a really wonderful process to see how it's evolved," said Diana Ball, wife of Packers vice president of football administration/player finance Russ Ball. "The turnout tonight has been the largest.
"I feel honored to work on this. It's been a great organization."
Every woman involved in Tuesday's event was responsible for accounting for each item on the checklist to be included in each care package. The line moved quickly as volunteers visited station after station, gathering the necessary items.
"It seems like we get a lot done," said Emily Nelson, wife of Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. "You bring a lot of ladies together, they're going to put the pedal to the metal and get things done."