There’s a new vehicle on the road in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. We helped purchase a brand-new truck for the Salvation Army to pick up and deliver donations. And, they let us help design the graphics! A word collage in the shape of hands embraces the Salvation Army logo. Words such as help, love, kindness, compassion and hope are written in English, Spanish and Hmong to represent the rich diversity of languages spoken in the the Fond du Lac community.

What’s the truck up to?

The Salvation Army uses the truck six days a week. On any given day, it could be used to:

  • Deliver furniture to a family who was previously homeless.
  • Pick up food donations from a local grocery store to distribute at the Salvation Army food pantry.
  • Transport clothing donations. 

The Alliant Energy Foundation worked closely with Salvation Army’s Connie Millard to plan the gift and design the graphics on the truck. “I hope when people see this truck on the road, it makes them smile,” Connie said. 

We couldn’t agree more! 

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With the pandemic raging and stay-at-home orders in place, many people may have given up their usual volunteer work. 

But Alliant Energy retiree Arlene Torrenga found a new way to give back. Each week, she places more than a dozen phone calls to people who live alone or in assisted living facilities.
She’s not just checking on their physical health: These phone calls are a bright spot in her friends’ weeks, helping them stay emotionally and mentally healthy.
“After retiring from Alliant Energy, I worked in a nursing home and then an assisted living home for a total of twelve years,” Arlene says. “I saw firsthand how much it meant for the elderly to receive phone calls, have visitors and receive mail from family and friends.”

Q&A with Arlene

How many calls do you make a day? 
The number of calls varies, but at least one a day. 

Tell us about one person you call regularly.
I call an 83-year-old lady who has been in lockdown in an assisted living facility since March 18, 2020. Except for essential trips to the doctor, hospital or a few other rare occasions, the residents are not allowed out of the building. If any of the residents is diagnosed with COVID-19, they are all quarantined to their apartments for 14 days and their food is delivered to their door. Visiting by telephone or emails is their only source of communication with the outside world. I call this lady at least three or four times per week. When she is on quarantine, I call her more frequently.
When did you start to realize that your calls were making a real difference?
I was being told how much the calls were looked forward to and appreciated. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was making a difference.