Helpful ways to support food pantries during the holidays
Every month, the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry distributes around 65,000 pounds of food to the community.
To help meet that need, the pantry depends on its partnership with local grocery stores as well as community members and businesses that host food drives.
Associate Executive Director Courtney Smith says that’s become even more important after pandemic-era support programs ended.
“Our community has really stepped up in the last two years in providing food drives. That's something that is a great way for people to come together and make an impact at the pantry. We have a wish list on our website,” said Smith. “It's fun. It's a good activity for a business or church group or a club to do together.”
Smith says monetary donations are the most helpful.
While they’ve also been hit hard by rising food costs, food pantries have buying power that can make the dollar go a little further.
“We also have a great opportunity to be the local recipient for the CoVantage Cares Giving Tuesday campaign. We're super excited for that. That starts November 28 and runs through December 12. Our goal is to raise $10,000 through their Giving Tuesday program. They'll match that dollar to dollar so we can turn 10,000 to 20,000,” said Smith.
Smith says the pantry is also always looking for volunteers, not just during the holidays.
“The holidays is when we absolutely all start to think about our neighbors and wanting to make sure that everybody has a happy holiday. Food insecurity, really, it happens all year long,” said Smith. “That's our greatest challenge. While we absolutely love and cherish the support that we get from our community during the holidays, it's just important to know that we can use support all year long.”