Wisconsin is a great place to live and work. As the leaves change this fall, it would be easy to get swept up in the Wisconsin scenery and the bustle of the upcoming holiday season. While the temperatures drop and we look forward to the next season, there are many out there worried about providing food for their families.
Area food pantries need community support to maintain their supplies and provide for members of the community. In Oshkosh and throughout Wisconsin, families are struggling to make ends meet, and increasingly turn to food pantries for help.
According to a report done by the UW Extension office, over 560,000 people, or 8.9% of Wisconsin households don’t always have enough food for an active, healthy life. Having a limited access to food and food assistance programs is one of the major factors. Food pantries and other emergency assistance programs can be a huge help to families battling hunger. Unfortunately, in Wisconsin and beyond, these food outlets are not receiving the support they need. Many are run by volunteers and subsist solely on community donations. In the past, food pantries were typically used in emergency situations, for very short periods of time. With unemployment and rising debt, many families are relying on food pantries for a substantial amount of time. This is depleting food pantry supplies at a faster rate, meaning they need more support from the communities they serve. Please view our list of Oshkosh area food pantries and available meal sites.
Though personal donation is the most obvious way to help your local food pantries, there are other solutions to consider.
- Host a food drive for larger scale donations.
- Organize a hunger walk to raise money and awareness.
- Educate yourself and your family on the needs of your community.
- Talk to food pantry volunteers to learn about the needs they are facing.
- Join or start a Hunger Task Force in your area.
- Work with local schools to start or enhance their free meal programs.
- Organize a summer meal program to provide children healthy meals when school is out.
- Volunteer at local food pantries, donating your time can be just as valuable as money or products.
There are many ways to get involved in your community. Education is the first step in being able to make a difference. Start close to home as your first step, and be on the lookout for ways to help the global community as we all look for ways to move forward and leave hunger and food insecurity in the past.