By Ashley Meyer, Marketing Coordinator at Southwest Health –
We are very fortunate to live and work in generous, charitable southwest Wisconsin communities, with the kind of people who take care of each other, not just during the holidays, but year-round. Since it’s the season of giving, this is a great opportunity to build some comradery around our giving spirit.
By donating to local food pantries, we can help ease the hardship of food insecurity (not knowing when you will get your next meal) during the holiday season and beyond.
What can you do?
Contact local food pantries before donating to ask what types of donations are most needed and to see if they accept fresh food donations. Food pantries also take cash/check donations, which enables them to purchase the variety of foods they need. They often times have connections that get them a lower price, allowing them to stretch your dollar further than if you had shopped for the food yourself.
I had the opportunity to chat with the coordinator of Ruby’s Food Pantry, which is hosted at the United Methodist Church on the first Thursday of every month, to find out how we can help them fight food insecurity locally. He stated that they are estimating approximately 300 families will come through to pick up donations next month, and that on average they serve between 250 to 350 families each month.
Ruby’s Pantry is unique in that the food is stocked through bulk donations purchased by their corporate company. They do accept other large bulk donations from local farmers and organizations from time to time, but by utilizing a bulk buying system through corporate, they are able to take advantage of major cost savings, ultimately allowing them to purchase a lot more food. They pre-package the boxes so that every family receives the same items – including fresh meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
Ruby’s Pantry asks that each family served donates $20 if possible, and in-return the families receive hundreds of dollars in groceries. If a family is unable to donate $20, Ruby’s Food Pantry covers the cost for that family. The coordinator indicated that the best way we can support Ruby’s Food Pantry which feeds hundreds of local families every month, is to donate cash that can be used to cover the $20 cost per family. The money is then reinvested, allowing for more bulk food purchasing.
Here’s the information and dates for Platteville’s local food pantries:
Platteville Food Pantry – Lutheran Church of Peace (1345 N Water St)
Mobile Food Pantry – St. Mary’s (345 N Court St)
Third Friday of the month (10:00 a.m. until all in line are served)
Ruby’s Food Pantry – United Methodist Church (1065 Lancaster St)
First Thursday of the month (Registration begins at 4:30pm)