Nonprofit Profile

Little houses to help bring awareness

Carol Wagner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner Nancy Baumgartner and Ryan Alexander stand by a Little SAM’s House at CoVantage Credit Union in Shawano.

Appearing at some businesses around Shawano are Little SAM’s Houses which are helping out the big SAM’s House, the emergency shelter which operates from November through April.

Nancy Baumgartner, a volunteer for Shawano Area Matthew 25, came up with the idea while sitting on her porch.

“It just came to me,” she said.

Baumgartner, who is newly retired, attended a meeting where they were talking about getting more awareness about the shelter since a lot of people still don’t know there is one in Shawano.

She asked her husband, Richard, who is retired from the construction industry, for help.

‘He came up with the design,” Baumgartner said. “He did it all.”

He has made two little blue house donation boxes and their stands along with four others which are tabletop houses. They have a yellow heart and the words ‘Hope Health Housing’ which is the group’s motto and mission to help people get on their feet and able to take care of themselves.

The Little SAM’s Houses also have literature about SAM25.

“Brochures have been flying out,” Baumgartner said.

The first house was put at Qualheim’s True Value in February and will be there for a year. CoVantage currently has the traveling one.

Ryan Alexander, CoVantage assistant vice president, is happy to support the organization and the shelter.

“It’s filling a need in the community,” he said. “They’re making an impact on the people they’re helping.”

The tabletop houses are at Beans & Books, Angie’s Main Café, Farm Inn, and the shelter has one to be used for their events.

Glas Coffeehouse had the traveling one in April, and it will be there again in November.

Baumgartner said it has been very successful noting the house attracts attention.

To learn more or to get a house, go to or the Shawano Area Matthew 25 Facebook page.