APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – “Christmas time is always a time to rejoice because of the service we’re able to offer,” said Joe Mauthe, the Executive Director of the Pillars Shelter in Appleton.

They have been affected by the pandemic but that hasn’t stopped them from providing essential services for 120 people, 22 of them children.

“We have another almost 80 households that are in supportive housing,” said Mauthe.

This service helps those fleeing domestic violence, facing chronic homelessness or battling mental health challenges.

Mauthe said, “The last part of the pillars continuum is affordable housing and we have 250 people living independently in their own homes where again they’ll be able to celebrate Christmas as a family within at home.”

Pillars shelter says they’ve seen an increase in need this year in large part because of the pandemic and the entire pillars system is serving around 450 people this holiday season.

“The pandemic has been pretty tough we are blessed to be able to continue offering our full range of services,” said Mauthe.

Pillars relies on a strong support system of volunteers.

Mauthe said, “In a typical year we would have over 25,000 hours of volunteer time, as you can imagine covid put a dent in that in a big way, and for good reason. We’re starting to see volunteers come back.”

Tony Schneider, Pillars Volunteer Manager said, “There are four groups providing a meal, and 18 volunteers serving those meals at both shelters.”

And this Christmas the shelter is proving gifts for every person they serve.

If you would like to get involved with Pillars Shelter visit their website.