Article “100 Important Women in Granite City History” continued

The website offers a treasure trove of useful information and links for anyone living or visiting the area. If you are new to the area, you can find links to Granite City schools, local government, area churches and organizations and there is even a special link titled ‘New to Granite City’.For those already established in the Granite City area, you can also find upcoming events, local weather, movie listings, a link to the City Hall phone directory and several local advertisers.

In 2009, Ronda and Lorri collaborated again, this time opening up “The Wired Wedge” which was an internet café that was located in the historic Ralph Building in downtown Granite City on Niedringhaus Ave. and Nineteenth St. “The Wired Wedge was created to provide a gathering place offering free internet for our customers. We had so many people from our website looking for a relaxing place to have some refreshments, socialize and bring their lap tops, so that’s what we provided,” said Lorri. “Most all of our customers at the beginning were from the discussion board or visitors from the site. They were curious, no doubt, about these two women who started the website,” added Ronda.

Unfortunately, the business didn’t work out. “We were trying to open it and get it off the ground at the same time the Granite City Cinema was planning on opening, but the winter weather caused a long delay in the opening of the cinema,” exclaimed Ronda. After the business closed down, the sisters went back to focusing their time to the website.

One thing that you won’t find on the website is the history of charitable work that Ronda and Lorri have accomplished.“It started when people began emailing us asking if we knew what churches or organizations could help them with Christmas, utility bills, and food,” said Ronda. “Some of the stories were beyond sad. People who had waited too late to apply for Christmas help at the Salvation Army or the Community Care Center, who had deadlines much earlier than most people realized,” she added. Most of the families were desperate for food and were having their water or power turned off. “I think mostly they landed on our website because we had a Granite City Church page published, and I think that’s where they started,” said Lorri.

After time, the sisters started taking some matters into their own hands. “The matters we knew we could make a difference instead of just passing the buck onto some food pantry,” said Lorri. “We would get some personal information, as in how many in the household, and how many children, and we would just shop and fill up the van and deliver groceries.”“We always made sure they had staple items, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and cooking oil,” added Ronda. “How can you cook without the staples.” she said.

The sisters would then concentrate on meats, veggies, fruits, drinks and snacks and of course treats for the kids.Lorri added “Some of the sights we witnessed were heartbreaking, like a completely empty refrigerator and cabinets.””It was very common that people reached out to us for help, particularly at Christmas time,” Ronda exclaimed. Once again this would result in the usual donations of groceries to help those in need in preparing a dinner, but they would also take toys to the houses for the families.

The gifts were never wrapped, as they wanted the parents to see what the presents were so that they could be part of the process. They would also be supplied with wrapping paper, ribbon, tags and tape so they could be part of the gift giving. Every child in every house received a stuffed stocking. Ronda and Lorri were able to fund their generosity through advertising dollars on the website. “There was one or two times that the need for food was so great, we actually reached out to the people on our discussion board. Many of the board members brought food like you wouldn’t believe to the Wired Wedge, and dropped it off,” said Ronda. The sisters would then make up the boxes of food and deliver to the families who had contacted them.

When asked why all of the charitable contributions were not posted on the website, Ronda replied, “The most rewarding charity is that which is unknown by anyone but yourself, and is acknowledged by no one, “It’s just what we do.”