Hope Center operates the following programs:

The Clothing Shop:

In 1989, the Clothing Shop moved from the basement of a local church and became a program of Hope Center. This program has helped tens of thousands of people over the years to obtain free quality clothing because of generous donations from our supporting congregations and individuals. We have everyday clothing and a section devoted to career type clothing. Volunteers assist our guests in selecting clothes, free to our guests and restricted to residents of Waukesha County who are in low, to low-middle income levels. Clothing Shop is open Monday - Friday 12:00pm to 4:00pm, Tuesday and Saturday 9:30am to 11:30am, and Wednesday Evenings 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

In 2017, there were 35,831 shopping visits to our Clothing Shop. Our volunteers worked an average of 350 hours each week, for more than 13,000 hours in the year. We received 257,365 articles of donated clothing, and those not used were passed onto a third-world ministry. Each article of clothing obtained from Hope Center allowed our guests to put more money towards their housing needs.

Outreach Meals:


The program began in 1991 to address the need of hunger in our community. Our guests include the homeless, those living in rooming houses or shelters, families trying to stretch their budget, and elderly persons on a fixed income, many of whom are physically and/or mentally impaired. Meals are served on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 5:30pm at Hope Center. We currently partner with St. Vincent de Paul, Food Pantry of Waukesha County, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), local restaurants, area congregations, and individuals to offer a hot, nutritionally balanced meal three times a week. We feed approximately 90-100 men, women, and children at each meal. In conjunction with the Salvation Army, Waukesha residents who are in need receive one hot, fresh, nutritious meal every day of the week. Our facility is available to Loaves and Fishes for a Sunday meal.

In 2017, we served 12,537 evening meals to almost 9,000 individuals. Over 14,000 volunteer hours from our community and area congregations helped in serving those meals. Through the continued support of area congregations and community during the year, a total of $180,904 worth of food was donated. Every meal served allows our guests to save money, which in turn can help provide shelter. The social component is priceless in some cases.

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A major source of funding has been from the Waukesha County Community Development Block Grant.

Day Center:

In conjunction with the Outreach Meal Program, Hope Center maintains a Day Center Monday through Friday and on weekends during the winter season, operating 8:00am to 4:00pm. A hearty breakfast (9am) and hot lunch (12pm) is served daily. Casual entertainment (books, movies, TV), job search assistance, and medical / social assistance are also available daily. The program was initially created to provide a daytime destination for the homeless, but has rapidly become a daytime destination for those who might otherwise be alone.

In 2017, we served 12,772 breakfasts and 21,128 lunches to 1,128 individuals. The demand for this program, and resources utilized to provide it, rivals those of the Outreach Meal program when the daily nature of the program is taken into consideration. As in the case of the Outreach Meal Program, guest food expenditures are reduced and the social element is priceless.

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A major source of funding has been from the Waukesha County Community Development Block Grant.

Green Power Garden:

Click Here to download and print the Green Power Garden Brochure
Click Here to download and print the Green Power Garden Map


This great program provides an additional benefit for our guests at the Hope Center. The garden is cultivated from spring into the fall, and provides fresh vegetables and fruit to those receiving meals through our Day Center and Meal Program. The garden has provided over 5,000 pounds of fresh food, and we share any harvest surplus with the Food Pantry of Waukesha. In addition to providing food, the garden program also opens the door for volunteer opportunities. Church, school, scout, and civic groups have joined in the preparation, tending, and harvesting of the crops.

Financial Assistance:

The Financial Assistance program helps people facing financial crises. This includes limited medical expenses (copays) or transportation to and from work. Throughout the years, we have helped thousands of people avoid becoming homeless. An applicant may receive financial assistance once a year and must be in the low-income population. From its beginnings as a program supported by congregations our Financial Assistance program has grown to include partnerships with St. Vincent de Paul, Hebron House of Hospitality, ERAs Senior Network Inc., Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Waukesha Community Development Board, various private foundations, and a multitude of individuals and congregations. In 2017, Hope Center was able to help 505 individuals. 

Project Move:

There is a constant need for appliances, furniture, and other household items for people that are relocating from a shelter or a family residence. They need basic items for the next step into independence and self-reliance. Hope Center constructed a facility to inventory donated items and deliver them to those in need. In a short time, the word was out that Hope Center has been helping families obtain and/or maintain a respectable residence. Homelessness sometimes is not about a roof over one’s head so much as it can be about having a bed instead of an air mattress, a refrigerator instead of an ice chest, or a sofa instead of a lawn chair. It is about creating a sense of home. In 2017, over 1,505 individuals benefited from this program.

Outreach Nurse:

In 1997, Hope Center collaborated with St. Joseph Medical Clinic to have a registered nurse available to our guests. The nurse visits the Day Center to offer help with blood pressure checks and general medical questions. The nurse assesses the physical, emotional and when appropriate, the spiritual needs of our clients. 

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“Hope Center has helped me by providing hot, wholesome meals and clothing for daily wear and work search. Thank you.”
-Barbara, Guest

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Catholic Community Foundation

More than 20,000 women, men, and children are currently living in or near poverty in Waukesha County. For 44 years Hope Center has strived to minimize the poverty related risk factors that contribute to homelessness by providing, at no cost to County residents, food, clothing, and simple living items. This is made possible by numerous contributors, donors and foundations such as the Catholic Community Foundation.

To learn more about the Catholic Community Foundation please consult legaciesoffaith.org.


Reducing the risks of poverty by helping people in Waukesha County meet basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing through services, partnerships and community collaboration.


Providing hope and resources to help people survive.


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