A letter to our community from 36 food pantries | The River Food Pantry

 
image of letter to the community in the Wisconsin State JournalA coalition of more than 30 Dane County food pantries, including The River, have released a letter to the community, sounding an alarm about the rising demand for assistance and the need for both immediate community support and longer-term solutions to fill the gap. Please read and share this message with your networks!

Dane County, we need your help.

As Dane County food pantries, we serve thousands of people in our community each day. Our shared mission is to make sure our neighbors don’t face hunger.

But we are facing a serious challenge.

Visits to many of our food pantries have more than doubled in the past two years. We know some of the reasons why. Food prices are higher and rent is rising more here than anywhere else in the country. Federal assistance that helped people make ends meet during the pandemic is gone. We are also the fastest-growing county in Wisconsin. Nearly 13% of kids in Dane County were food insecure in 2022, up from 7.5% in 2021 — and that was before our food pantries started seeing drastic increases in demand.

We’re also spending more on food than ever before.

The options we have to keep our shelves stocked continue to shift and are more limited than they were just a few years ago. Buying food in bulk is more expensive now and our traditional suppliers of free food can’t keep up with the demand. Permanent changes to the food system over the last few years mean there is less surplus available for our food pantries.

These trends make it challenging to keep food on our shelves.

Food pantries have worked hard to stretch our resources, space, and teams as far as possible. The pressure will rise in the coming weeks as kids have less access to free food with schools out for the summer.

You can help.

Making a financial donation to your local food pantry enables them to purchase needed food. We welcome food drives and volunteers, too. We know there is no quick or easy fix to food insecurity and the structural and economic factors that drive it. So we urge our local, county, state, and federal officials, as well as other community leaders, to help find long-term solutions to food insecurity. We can’t do it alone.

This is a critical moment for us to come together for our neighbors.

When our community supports local food pantries, we are stronger. With access to food, kids can learn, families can work, and seniors can stay healthy. It will take all of us to meet this challenge and make sure our neighbors don’t experience hunger. We are committed to doing all we can. We are asking you to join us.

In partnership with you,

Allied Food Pantry
Babies & Beyond of WI, Inc.
Badger Prairie Needs Network
Bayview Community Center Pantry
Catholic Multicultural Center
Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin
Deerfield Community Center
East Madison Community Center
Extended Hands Pantry
Fountain of Life Covenant Church
Good Shepherd Food Pantry
Goodman Community Center’s Fritz Food Pantry
Grace Food Pantry
Great Lakes Dryhootch Madison
Heights Unlimited Community Resource Center (Mazomanie)
Islamic Community of Madison
Kennedy Heights Food Pantry
Lakeview Food Pantry
Lussier Community Education Center – Food Pantry
Mission Nutrition DeForest
Neighborhood House Community Center Food Pantry
Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Mt. Horeb
Oregon Area Food Pantry
OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center
Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Madison Food Pantry
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Food Pantry
Stoughton Food Pantry
Stoughton United Methodist Church Food Pantry
Sun Prairie Food Pantry at Sunshine Place
The Keep Food Pantry
The River Food Pantry
Vivent Health Food Pantry
Waunakee Food Pantry
WayForward Resources
Willy Street Pantry at the Social Justice Center

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