The Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center: Serving the East Isthmus Since 1968
For more than 50 years, Wil-Mar was home to Pilgrim Church, providing critical support and resources to the surrounding community. In 1968, the congregation donated their building to the neighborhood so that it could become the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center. In the late 60s, the needs and interests of the surrounding community were rapidly changing—blue-collar families, young artists and college students, and senior citizens all called this part of the east Isthmus home!
Saturday Free Community Meal: Providing more than 100 hot meals each week, this meal is free and open to all! Each Saturday, volunteers from local service organizations and faith-based organizations prepare a hot meal with a salad, vegetables, desert and coffee. All ingredients for these meals are purchased by Wil-Mar. Saturdays in the Yahara Room, from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Monday Senior Meal: Serving more than 30 seniors each Monday, this weekly home-made meal provides senior citizens with a free meal, nutrition and recreation activities, and socialization with friends! The meal directly follows the drop in gentle chair yoga class, from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Afterwards, seniors enjoy the Monday matinee movie or card games. Mondays; meal served at noon. Movie and cards from 1-3 p.m.
Wil-Mar Food Pantry: Wil-Mar's Food Pantry is open on Wednesday afternoons from 1-3 p.m. Approximately 1500 households access the life-giving food and personal hygiene items each year. Guests should bring with them a photo ID and piece of mail if possible, although it is not necessary.
Wil-Mar Bread Shelves: Located in Wil-Mar's lobby, these shelves provide overstock produce, donated food items, and bread and baked goods "gleaned" from local bakeries and grocery stores throughout the week. Food destined for the dump gets into the hands and bellies of those in need! Vegetables and herbs grown at Lapham Elementary are also made available during the summer months on these shelves. More than 2000 people access the bread shelves annually.
After-School Child Care: Wil-Mar's After-School Child Care offers structured academic, social, and cultural activities to school-age children age 5-12 years old. Children also enjoy a snack and hot dinner each day. Tuition is based on a generous sliding-fee scale. For more information, visit the After-School Child Care page.
The Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center provides a foundation for our ever-widening community: a place for all people to learn, grow and celebrate. Over the last 50 years, Wil-Mar has served and support hundreds of thousands of people. As the east Isthmus community continues to evolve, Wil-Mar maintains the foundations of health, vitality, and acceptance that make our community the rare and wonderful place it is to call home.
“I grew up at Wil-Mar, when my family lived just a few blocks away. Coming to Wil-Mar for afterschool and summer camp was like going to a relative’s house—it was warm, welcoming, and everyone knew everyone!
Now as a teacher for the Madison School District and a mother myself, I understand how important it was that me and my siblings had some place safe and supportive to go for all those years. Kids have fun and families know that their kids are learning and growing in a positive place. I love Wil-Mar so much that I send my own kids to the Wil-Mar Summer Camp now. Wil-Mar really is like family!”