Sometimes traditions come about in response to an immediate necessity.
Such is the case with Grand Avenue Club's WELCOME WEDNESDAY. Some time in 2014, we became aware that GAC's average daily attendance was considerably lower on the last days of every month. When we asked our members' why this was so, they told us that they typically ran out of money by the fourth week of the month.
GAC always stayed open late on Wednesday nights. With a nutritional breakfast, lunch, and dinner served on that day, we decided to establish something new. All 3 meals would be complimentary to GAC members on that day. We dubbed the day "WELCOME WEDNESDAY" and made sure that everyone knew about it.
We shared this decision with our members via outreach calls, cards and e-mails. Many were relieved to learn that 3 nutritious meals awaited them at GAC on the last Wednesday of every month. In addition we arranged for simple "meals-to-go" for members who needed them.
Attendance on WELCOME WEDNESDAYS soared and the day took on a meaning that transcended its very necessary original purpose. WELCOME WEDNESDAY began to feel like a monthly reunion of friends. It became one of the times of the month when we celebrated birthdays, members' completion of Transitional Employment positions, and other good happenings. In addition, we developed a monthly slide show that showed colleagues participating in the work-ordered day, at their paid employment, at school, and at GAC outings. We showed every month's photos at WELCOME WEDNESDAY.
Since March 2020, the onset of pandemic awareness in Milwaukee, there have been no WELCOME WEDNESDAYS...until yesterday, January 26, when we reinstituted the custom. Forty members were at GAC throughout the day, the most freezing day of the year. Twenty-five stayed for dinner.
Given the very very cold weather, lingering pandemic caution, and the icy sidewalk in front of our building, WELCOME WEDNESDAY felt like a cozy refuge for GAC colleagues.
May such coziness endure.