Thirteen years ago, Chris Weiler’s nephew passed away at the tender age of 13. Losing a child so young is gut-wrenching, and Weiler and his wife Kristin wanted to do something to support Weiler’s brother and his family. At the time, the couple owned the 86th Street Pub, so they started a fundraiser and sold stockings that patrons could purchase and personalize with messages.
“We took the proceeds from that and gave it to my brother’s family,” Weiler says. “At the time it was extremely helpful for them, and our customers supported it full-force.”
When the Weilers became owners of The Mill Tavern in Westfield, they made a commitment to continue fundraising each Christmas season and donate the funds to a worthy organization. For a while they aided a nonprofit called Helping Hands, but when the organization’s founder passed away, enthusiasm for the mission faded. Once again the Weilers were in search of a community-focused organization to support.
Three years ago when they stumbled upon Open Doors of Washington Township, it seemed like the perfect fit, as the Open Doors mission is to improve the quality of life for Washington Township residents through food and clothing assistance, referrals to community services, and spiritual guidance. Throughout the past three decades Open Doors has served more than 13,000 families with more than 670,000 pounds of food, according to the organization’s official website.
“Connecting with Open Doors has worked out beautifully because they are able to effectively use the funds we raise, and it goes into the community that’s right there in our neighborhood,” Weiler says.
Throughout the month of December, staff at The Mill Tavern will be selling “stockings” for $5. These stockings have evolved through the years and are now die-cut pads of paper shaped like gingerbread men, stockings and Christmas trees, which customers can purchase and write messages on. They are then hung up in the restaurant to add to the holiday decor.
“After the new year, we write a check to Open Doors, usually between $2,000 and $3,000,” says Weiler, who is hoping to expand their support by hosting an additional fundraiser next summer.
Custom Concrete is also a proud partner with Open Doors.
“We, as a company, have a duty to give back to our community, and Open Doors brings together community partners like churches and organizations to provide an opportunity to serve,” says Tim Carr, co-owner of Custom Concrete.
In the fall of 2021 Custom Concrete, along with some industry partners, helped construct a 3,000-square-foot addition for Open Doors. They had outgrown their existing facility, for which Custom Concrete laid the original foundation. The Custom Concrete office and field staff were able to work hand in hand to serve the community. Office employees got a chance to help pour the concrete, experiencing the hands-on process.
“Our employees are passionate about serving the community,” Carr says. “We have enjoyed partnering with Open Doors over the years.”
Each holiday season, the Custom Concrete leaders place boxes in their office and invite staff members to donate food or financial contributions to Open Doors.
“We don’t want to just be in the community, but rather active in the community,” says Jason Ells, senior vice president for Custom Concrete. “When people see our Custom Concrete brand, I hope they think about our commitment to serving Washington Township.”
Carr and Weiler enjoy raising awareness about Open Doors, an all-volunteer nonprofit.
“There’s a real misconception that everyone in Hamilton County or Washington Township is fortunate or well-off, and that’s not the case,” Weiler says. “When they have the food drop-offs or meal distribution, people are always waiting in line.”
Given the challenges the pandemic has created, now is the perfect time to step in and help those in need. Call 317-867-8670 or visit opendoorswestfield.org to learn how to get involved.