"This kind of gets everybody," Dan Zealley, Executive Director of Give Back Wisconsin said. "From pets, to kids to senior citizens to veterans. That way, everybody should be able to come to our organization and find something they want to help out."
Zealley runs a trivia company for his day job. However, last year, he decided he wanted to do more to help out people. While watching "Give" on NBC, he saw a segment that inspired him. Pets for Vets, a group that provides shelter dogs to military veterans, was featured and it hit home.
"When I saw the Give story about the veterans, I just saw in their heart how these dogs were helping them," Zealley said. "It brought tears to my eyes, the difference the dog's made in these people's lives. It tugged on my heartstrings."
But Zealley didn't want to stop with just helping veterans. So he, Director of Operations, Jeff Anderson and others with Give Back Wisconsin brainstormed other people they wanted to help.
Including Pets for Vets, they found five areas they wanted to focus on. It hits nearly every demographic; children dealing with illness, at-risk teens, senior citizens and students. It was a lofty goal but Zealley wanted to reach everyone.
But to help out all of those people, he'd need help funding the project. Then an idea popped into his head.
"A friend mentioned the possibility of a popcorn shop opening up to fund it," Zealley said. "I thought that was a great idea."
The Popcorn Shoppe in Greendale has 30 different flavors of the indulgent treat. There are the classics, like cheddar and caramel, all the way through to St. Patrick's Day-friendly Jameson and Bailey's flavors.
With the help of Muskego-based Pop's Kettle Corn, Zealley's store is packed with popcorn, even as it flies off the shelves from customers excited to get a great treat for a good cause.
"You can find something in here you'd like for sure," Zealley said. "They think it's a great idea. Not only can they get a great treat for themselves but they can feel they're helping out the community."