The past few years have been record-setting ones for the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, but not in a good way.
In November of 2010, they served 7,654 people, the highest monthly number in their 35-year history. In 2011, the Pantry served an average of 1,457 people each week, and nearly 40% of those served were children. The economic downturn has brought more and more working families to the Pantry than ever before. In 2012, the Pantry saw an increase of 63% in newly registered clients. 2013 brought an 18% increase in the number people that were helped at the Pantry.
Over the past few years the worsening economy has increased the number of clients the Pantry helps and it has also changed the face of their clients as well. The Pantry is now seeing more first-time users, particularly more professionals who have recently lost their jobs, their savings, or even their homes.
Over 200 volunteers stock shelves and distribute perishable and nonperishable foods that are mostly donated by individuals giving to local food drives. By providing low income families and individuals with a variety of foods such as frozen meat, canned soup, and baby formula, the Pantry helps to address their clients’ immediate needs while connecting them with agencies and programs that can provide medical, budgeting, and employment assistance. In addition to providing groceries, personal hygiene products, and household supplies, the agency also delivers food to homebound clients, distributes surplus government food, and provides food to more than 70 local hunger relief agencies through their Food Recovery Program.