Sugar Creek Lutheran Church check donation

Sugar Creek Lutheran Church representatives Chad Zepezauer, from left, and Jim Krauklis present a ceremonial check for $50,000 to Janis Scharnott and Heidi Lloyd of New Beginnings APFV. (Contributed photo/Regional News)

SUGAR CREEK — A group planning to open a new domestic violence shelter in Walworth County is getting a $50,000 boost from Sugar Creek Lutheran Church.

It is the biggest cash donation ever to New Beginnings APFV, the local chapter of the Associated for the Prevention of Family Violence, which is working to convert a former medical clinic in Elkhorn into a new shelter.

Sugar Creek Lutheran Church made the donation using funds from the estate of Doris Reinke, a longtime Elkhorn school teacher who died in 2018 and left her estate to the church.

The Rev. Dick Inglett, pastor of Sugar Creek Lutheran, said Reinke never married and lived her life as a strong independent women who cared for the children she taught at school. Both of those qualities. Inglett said, seem to fit with the mission of New Beginnings and its shelter for women and children survivors of domestic violence.

Referring to Reinke and the donation, Inglett said: “We thought that would be a reflection of her.”

Heidi Lloyd, executive director of New Beginnings, said the group’s previous largest cash donation was $30,000 from the Elkhorn Rotary Club, which gave $10,000 a year for three years.

Lloyd called the Sugar Creek church’s donation “an incredible gift.”

“We were very excited,” she said. “That’s a lot of money. It will go a long way.”

The nonprofit group for survivors of domestic violence is seeking Elkhorn city approval for a permit to establish a new shelter at 20 N. Church St., a former downtown Elkhorn medical clinic whose owners are donating the property.

Some neighbors of the property have voiced opposition to the shelter proposal.

Lloyd said it was gratifying to feel such a strong show of support from the people of Sugar Creek Lutheran Church, a congregation of about 500 people at N5690 Cobblestone Road, located north of Elkhorn.

“It definitely is wonderful to hear someone stepping up and saying, ‘Yes, we believe in you, and we want to help you,’” she said.

The church donation was announced March 30 during a fund-raising event that raised another $40,000 for New Beginnings.

Reinke, who taught grade school in Elkhorn for about 40 years, was 96 years old when she died in January 2018 and left her estate to Sugar Creek Lutheran.

Members of the church decided to use much of the estate to fund student scholarships and missionary work. They also wanted to donate a portion to a worthwhile cause, and congregation members voted unanimously to give $50,000 for the domestic violence shelter.

Said Inglett: “We thought that would be a very positive thing to do.”