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Humans of Neenah

Posted on by Future Neenah

Donald Pohlman cropped

Jesus Food’s Iconic Founder

“I think Neenah is the greatest place to live . . . the volunteerism here is what

keeps the community growing and involved.” Donald Pohlman is not one to hesitate

when expressing love for his community, as observed through his words here. Donald is

an active volunteer at Gloria Dei church in Neenah, and helped to form the Coffee

House program. Coffee House opens the church to the community from 3:00-4:30 every

Thursday, providing a place for people, mostly students from nearby Neenah High

School, to socialize and escape the cold with free hot drinks and what the students call

“Jesus food.”

Donald grew up in New London, but his family moved to Neenah when he was in

the 6th grade. He graduated from Neenah High School and earned an Associate’s

degree at Fox Valley Technical College. Later in life, he became a Neenah Police officer

where he knew “about 75% of Neenah” during his 31 years of employment with the

police. Pohlman is retired now and enjoys his days volunteering at Gloria Dei, catching

up with friends over coffee, playing cribbage, and staying healthy. In fact, he still works

out every day at age 78. How lucky for his 7 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren to

have such an active grandpa! Along with his grandchildren, Donald is the father to 3

sons and a loving husband to his wife of 57 years!

Regarding the Coffee House program and its origins, Pohlman explains: “It was

mainly a place to go after school and meet with friends where you aren’t standing out on

a corner . . . We started out serving 80-85 kids, now we are over 200!” He also mentions

inspiration from other similar programs in the Janesville area and the successes of

those programs, leading to the founding of a truly iconic, safe, and welcoming after

school hangout for local youth and the community.

By NHS Arete Student: Natalie Thurow


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