Lakeland Pantry statistics show that, over the past few years, the line of people waiting for its doors to open has more than tripled. Officials say what’s especially alarming is the dramatic increase in the number of working families with children coming to the pantry.
On average, the Lakeland Pantry now serves over 1,800 registered families. It distributes to 450 to 500 families weekly, giving out 14,000 to 16,000 pounds of food each week. Forty percent of recipients are children. With the economy still struggling, officials say the number of families using the pantry will likely increase.
Staff at the Marshfield Clinic Minocqua Center Human Resources Department were concerned with this need, and recently coordinated a food and funds drive. Clinic staff responded by contributing a truck full of food and items, and cash donations of about $650.
“The Clinic annually donates funds to help support the food pantry, and our staff has historically been very generous in helping with food drives,” said Rick Clark, administrator, Marshfield Clinic Minocqua Center. “We’d like to urge others in our community to remember the Food Pantry all year long, as we know that the need is there all year.”
“We’re very grateful for the contributions from Marshfield Clinic and other organizations and individuals. Right now, we can use both donated food items and monetary contributions,” said Pam Winkelman of Lakeland Pantry. “We purchase 95 percent of food distributed using donated funds and obtain 100 percent of our funding through community donations.”
Winkelman said the Lakeland Pantry makes the most of each donation, using cost-effective purchasing so that a $10 donation buys $50 to $70 of food. The pantry also coordinates service projects with youth organizations and maintains a Family in Crisis fund, she said.
The Lakeland Pantry distribution/donation drop off times are Tuesdays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and alternate Thursdays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monetary donations can be sent to Lakeland Food Pantry, c/o Howard Young Foundation, P.O. Box 470, Woodruff, WI 54568.