Silver Lake considers donation for The Sharing Center

silver-lake-VHA proposal by Silver Lake village President Bruce Nopenz that the village consider a cash donation to The Sharing Center in Trevor met with little support and one trustee calling such an action illegal.

But Nopenz said he will have the village attorney look into the legality of the matter before he lets it drop.

Nopenz, at Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting, said he was prompted to raise the issue after learning that of clients served by the The Sharing Center about 9 percent are from Silver Lake.

In 2015, 64 families from Silver Lake used the center’s food pantry on a regular basis, and visited the center 340 times in total, said Sharon Pomaville, The Sharing Center executive director. Average family size is about 3. The center also provided 1,565 mid-morning snacks to Riverview School for its low-income and homeless students.

the-sharing-center-logo-with-tagTalking with The Sharing Center officials, Nopenz said he learned that the center needs donations of cash as well as food provided by the drives many area organizations and groups run throughout the year.

But some other board members said they felt the village having a food collection box at Village Hall or organizing food drives was a more appropriate role for the village.

Run a food drive is “all this board will have to do a couple of times a year,” said Trustee Roger Johnson. “The food is just as important as money.”

Johnson added that the board in the past may have acted on a motion to not make donations of village funds to charities. It’s not clear if it was just discussed or enacted because Johnson said the action was “on the table,” which in municipal government speak would typically indicate a measure for which action was deferred.

Trustee Dan Withers suggested his research indicates the village could not legally donate to The Sharing Center.

“I believe its illegal to give money to an organization to provide a service that you are not mandated to provide,” Withers said.

Pomaville, who in recent years has been coming to municipal board meetings to ask for a donation, pointed out that no legal basis for Withers view has ever been found to her knowledge.

“At other municipality meetings, the question has arose, “Is it legal to donate?” and so far, no municipality that I am aware of has found laws against it,” Pomaville said in an email to

In recent years, Salem, Twin Lakes and Bristol have made donations to The Sharing Center.

While the municipalities that have been making a donation have done so as donors, Pomaville said she would like to see a different approach.

“I would like municipalities to look at supporting the center as an emergency or human service provider for the people in their own town,” Pomaville wrote. “Municipalities and towns contract with numerous providers to supply services to its community members.”

As to the need and a role for municipal support, Pomaville wrote the following:

The better question might be, “Why should our community fund a program/company/agency that provides extensive supportive programs, including rehousing their homeless students and residents, helping stabilize families coping with drastic financial losses due to death or illness periling the survival of the entire family, feeding families that otherwise would be going hungry (yes in America, in 2016), providing one-on-one support to those in the throes of domestic violence, and so much more? I’ve also heard, “The churches would pick up the slack,” and the truth is the task became so great, the churches couldn’t and hence the birth of so many nonprofits over the last 20 years. I’ve also heard, “The federal government should be doing this (or the state, or county): they are not, and so why not you? Why not our local towns supporting the providers? We provide a service as critical as any other service a town chooses to see the need for. This is a need, not a luxury, and municipalities who may view the stabilization of the lives of its children as a luxury, please visit me anytime for a real-time conversation on poverty. Choosing to see the need is key.”

Despite the lack of support for a donation (several board members did not express an opinion on a donation and Trustee Doug Randolph was absent), Nopenz said after the meeting that he intends to have the village attorney give an opinion on the legality before he brings the topic up again.



  1. ashamed says:

    I read this article with a heavy heart.
    I am ashamed to call Silver Lake home.

    I implore anyone with a willing heart to make a donation to The Sharing Center.

    This Village is run by idiots!

  2. Sl Goverment says:

    To ashamed. I am ashamed at you. What don’t you understand. The present board is asking our lawyer if its legal. They didn’t say they were not going to donate. If you know how government works and you don’t. This was a cow meeting and at this type of a meeting it is met to discuss issues. You can not vote on anything at a cow meeting. Why didn’t the last board donate? If they had we would not be talking about this because it would have paved the way already. This board has done more good in the last few months than the last board did in two years. Do your home work.

  3. ashamed says:

    In reply to Sl Government…
    We must not have read the same article.
    Did you read my comment? I did not say I did not understand.
    I wonder why you are so hostile.
    I asked people to donate.

    Have a good day.

    To all others reading these comment:

  4. Sl Goverment says:

    To Ashamed please reread your statement. The best part of it is when you call the people that run the village idiots and you are ashamed to live. Please move.
    Have a great day. I am ashamed of you.

  5. Another angle..... says:

    Maybe if the Sharing Center said it needed donations for the Silver Lake Ice rink/swimming pool the board would have been more willing to help?

  6. Ughhh says:

    @another angle: And they could use the same fundraising effort they used for that awesome Zamboni they purchased too!

  7. ashamed says:

    My use of the word “idiot” was short sighted. It was a reference to an old saying. I guess that was lost on you Sl government.
    I plan on moving as soon as my children are out of school. Schools that my children love. Uprooting them is not an option.

    No bad can come from being kind to your neighbors!!!

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