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Change the world through your neighborhood: Menasha bar collecting Thanksgiving donations for families in need

Old Grog bar sign
Posted at 5:52 PM, Nov 14, 2023
  • Neighborhood bar "Old Grog" in Menasha is the sole provider of a full day of Thanksgiving meals to students in need in the Menasha Joint School District.
  • They are hoping to collect enough donations to feed 150 families this year, a number that has been growing for five years.
  • Owner Rosita Eisenach teamed up with Sure-Dry in Menasha and JF Lopez Roofing in Fond du Lac to procure 150 turkeys for families in need.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Here in Menasha, a neighborhood bar is working hard to feed those in need this Thanksgiving. I'm your Menasha Neighborhood Reporter Darby McCarthy with a look at the Old Grog's' turkey drive and how they're helping neighbors in need.

“We're dead center in the middle of the community and when we do the fundraisers, the support we get is insane”

The Old Grog has been around since 1973. But Rosita Eisenach has owned it for five years.

That's when she had a goal of putting together enough meals for five families. Then the next year: 25. And then 30. And then 100.

And now: 150.

Fifty of the turkeys are coming from donations in Fond du Lac.

“If you want to change the world, go work in your neighborhood. And here's a neighborhood bar in Menasha changing their neighborhood.”

And the other 100 are donated by a Menasha-based business, Sure-Dry Basements.

“I certainly would hope that our impact is being felt, and there's certainly a big need for it here in Menasha.”

And there is a need.

U.S. Census data from 2022 shows that Menasha has a poverty rate of 10.5%, which is just lower than the overall rate for Wisconsin: 10.7%.

But according to the Menasha Joint School District's Director of Special Services Marci Thiry, 56% of the district's families have reported that they meet the poverty level.

She says Old Grog's Thanksgiving drive is the only program that provides these turkey dinners to students through the Menasha Joint School District.

But Rosita says they could still use a lot of help to reach their goal of 150.

“We have about 29 families completed right now.”

And it's not just the Thanksgiving meal.

Rosita's goal is to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the full day.

“We literally have everything from cereal, stuffing, ricerone, macaroni..."

And the list of food goes on and on.

When she has a complete set of items for a family, she boxes it all up so it's ready to go.

You don't have to live in Menasha if you want to chip in food or money. Rosita and her staff will be happy to take donations through Friday. The turkeys will be delivered on Monday.