Pitching in for the Food Pantry

Donations, volunteers help Saukville agency stay busy feeding needy families

AREA CUB SCOUT, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops have helped the Saukville Community Food Pantry with its mission of helping feed families by collecting nonperishable items. Scouts and their leaders posed with donations they dropped off last weekend. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Saukville Community Food Pantry is a busy place, with 80 or so families coming each month for basic foodstuffs.

But it got even busier this past weekend as dozens of area Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts collected food and brought it to the pantry in the basement of Parkside United Church of Christ in Saukville.

It’s one of the largest collections of the year for the pantry, pantry director Mark Gierach said.

“That is a very big event for us every year and for all the food pantries,” Gierach said. “Last year, they brought in just over 1,000 pounds.”

A similar event sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service each spring brings in a little more than that, he said.

Abby Andris, one of the collection coordinators, said Scouts from Saukville and Port Washington who attend Saukville Elementary School participated in this year’s collection.

Another big event for the pantry was held Wednesday when a truck from Feeding America sponsored by Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin unloaded about four tons of food at the Grady Park pavilion.

It was the second mobile food pantry collection sponsored by Molina, the first being in September. Usually the mobile pantry is only held in the summer.

“The reality is this wouldn’t be happening without (Molina’s) sponsorship,” Gierach said, adding he would like to see more such sponsorships.

“We’re always looking for more sponsors for that or any other events like holiday gift boxes at Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter,” he said.

The pantry is also looking for volunteers. It currently has 86 people helping out, Gierach said.

On Saturday, the pantry’s first “Meat Raffle” will be held, in which tickets will be sold to win steaks, pork chops, seafood and a cooler full of tailgate fare such as brats, burgers and hot dogs. There also will be a 50-50 raffle.

The raffle will be from 1 to 4 p.m.  Oct. 27 at the Railroad Station tavern in Saukville. That event is co-sponsored by local businesses including Walmart, Meijer, Schwei’s, Saukville Meats, Bernie’s Fine Meats and Sysco Foods.

Saturday also will be the pantry’s second community meal of the month. The pantry holds two each month, on the second and fourth Saturdays. Each meal is hosted, prepared and served by members of local churches and other groups.

Things aren’t always so busy for the pantry, which started in January 2012. Donations to the all-volunteer, nonprofit group, which doesn’t receive any state or federal assistance, drop off considerably after the holidays and during the summer, Gierach said.

“Those are the times when the least amount of food comes in through donations,” he said. “Everybody wants to help during the holidays because everybody is in the giving spirit. But right after that and during the summer, those are the slimmest times of the year for donations.”

Summer can be especially hard on families, he said.

“That’s because young people who would be getting a free lunch or breakfast at school are all at home and they need food,” Gierach said.

Despite the occasional lean times, Gierach said the pantry has always been able to meet the demand.

Current needs include peanut butter and jelly, cereal, canned soups, ketchup, Manwich, canned fruit, canned pasta with sauce, canned beans, dried pasta, jarred pasta sauce, cake and cookie mixes and personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, bars of soap, shampoo and toilet paper.

“A lot of people are not aware that through the Food Share program, which most people refer to as food stamps, people are not able to buy toilet paper, which I think would be a basic necessity,” Gierach said. “We go through a lot of material like that that we actually wind up purchasing.”

For more information, visit www.saukvillefoodpantry.com or call 284-0588.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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