Middleton Outreach Ministry on Thursday announced a new name — WayForward Resources — a change that it says will help more people access the nonprofit’s food pantry and housing stability programs.
“Our new name reflects who we are today and all of the services we provide,” executive director Ellen Carlson said in a statement. “We’ve been discussing changing our name for nearly a decade, but there has never been a better time to take this important step to remove barriers and allow more people who need support to find us.”
The transition is taking place as demand for the services the organization provides continues to increase, driven in part by reduced federal food assistance and rising rents in Dane County, according to a press release. The change to WayForward Resources will reduce confusion about the mission of the organization and make it easier for clients to understand the services it provides, Carlson says.
The organization was established in 1980 by members of local Middleton churches and faith-based organizations continue to support its work after it transitioned to a community-based nonprofit organization in 2007. WayForward’s food pantry is now open to everyone in Dane County and over time its service area for housing stability programs has expanded to include Middleton, Cross Plains and west Madison.
“As a longtime partner and advocate for WayForward Resources’ mission, St. Luke’s has seen firsthand the impact their programs have on the lives of individuals and families in Dane County,” Rev. Carrie Greenquist-Petersen of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church said in a statement. “WayForward Resources provides crucial support to those who need help the most in our community, and we are proud to have played a small part in their journey – from their humble beginnings in St. Luke’s basement to the vital resource they are today. We are excited to see WayForward Resources continue to grow and serve our community, and are thankful to continue partnering alongside them.”
WayForward Resources serves more than 5,000 people a year. Its food pantry distributes the equivalent of more than 100,000 meals per month to people facing food insecurity. About 500 households a year receive funds from WayForward’s housing stability program, and 98% of participants maintain housing and avoid eviction for a year or longer.
“We’ve partnered with WayForward Resources for more than two decades and we’re proud to support their programs that help improve the lives of families in Dane County,” United Way of Dane County President and CEO Renee Moe said in a statement. “We’re excited to see the strong impact WayForward can have in the years ahead as it works to help more people thrive and make our community stronger.”