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Security Health Plan supports local organization providing safe, healthy place for those who need a helping hand

Security Health Plan is pleased to support the Bridge Street Mission in Wausau. Community members can come to the mission for a free meal, housing, and help finding resources to become productive members in society.

The Bridge Street Mission works with those who struggle with addiction and substance abuse, lack of health care and mental health issues. They provide a safe and healthy place for individuals while they transition from health care and correctional facilities into the community.

Bridge Street Mission operates a community center, serving morning coffee and a daily lunch. They also have a community living program and sober living facility for men and women who strive to live clean, sober, and healthy.

“We have a positive impact on people, which ultimately has a positive impact on the community,” said Todd Van Ryn, Interim Executive Director at Bridge Street Mission. “We want to help individuals become healthy contributors to society.”
Getting people into safe environments and sober living programs decreases health care and other costs for the community. According to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, for a homeless person to be on the streets averages about $40,000 a year in shelter, health care and jail costs.

“A poor transition usually results in relapse,” explained Van Ryn. “If we can help an individual transition from needing services to becoming a productive member of society, it is a value to the overall community. We are working on getting people who are living on the fringes of society to begin contributing to society and leading productive lives.”

Now more than ever, Bridge Street Mission’s services are in high demand. They provided more than 10,000 meals during January-April 2020, and serve an average of 160 free lunches daily. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mission served approximately 70 meals per day.

“Our food donations increased during the pandemic. The support of the community was wonderful,” said Van Ryn.

But further support from the community is still needed. Bridge Street Mission always accepts food and monetary donations. Families or business can also sponsor a meal or help with clean up and service.

Van Ryn knows that with the support of the community, they are stronger.

“Having the support of Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan shows that we’re partners,” he said. “We’re not alone and know there are people that support what we’re doing. When people who come to the Mission see big organizations supporting us, they feel a sense of worth.”

Part of the mission of Security Health Plan is to enrich lives by helping individuals and communities reach their best health. Security Health Plan Chief Clinical Officer Melissa DeGoede explained supporting organizations like the Bridge Street Mission is at the heart of Security Health Plan’s core values.

“We cannot live our mission without talking with people in the communities we serve and investing wisely to help solve real issues. One of the best ways we can have a positive effect in our communities is through partnerships we form with individuals and organizations. Bridge Street Mission is one organization that is making a measurable improvement on the health of our community,” said DeGoede.

To learn more about Bridge Street Mission or to learn how to help, visit their webpage at www.bridgestreetmission.org or call 715-409-3506.