Every time I sit down to a meal, I take a moment to be thankful that I have it. Sometimes it’s in the form of a prayer, sometimes in just a reflection of how lucky I am.
As the weather gets cooler, we all know we’re approaching another Wisconsin winter. This year in particular is going to be especially difficult for some families, particularly with the impact of the pandemic, medical bills, and resulting job losses.
According to Second Harvest Foodbank, one in eight people in South Central Wisconsin now face hunger, and there has been a 61% increase in food insecurity in Wisconsin since the pandemic started. Feeding America notes that one in eleven people in the entire state face hunger, including one in seven children. And they note that 5.3 million people facing hunger in the United States are senior citizens.
Though these statistics might seem a little bleak, if we all chip in through local food pantries, we can help face this problem head-on! The average cost of one meal in Wisconsin is $2.84, which means that small contributions can go a long way!
Many of us think about giving back around the holiday season, but this year in particular shows a greater need to support our neighbors through food pantries in the area. Although the holiday season is typically a popular time to donate, food pantries accept and appreciate donations all year. It can be tough to think about this with everything that’s going on. I will be writing myself a note to go drop some food off whenever I can!
Making meals and sharing them with neighbors in need is a great way to provide support, if you are able. Another way to give is through food pantries.
A comprehensive list of food pantries in the Madison area is available here. There’s probably one in your neighborhood!
Things to donate
Generally, food pantries accept dry and canned goods like soups, peanut butter, or whole grain pastas.
Food pantries can’t accept items that need refrigeration, items that have been opened, expired foods, foods with damaged packaging, or baked goods.
Some food pantries can also accept household goods like blankets or unopened personal care items. Contact your specific food pantry or check their website to see what they are in need of.
Soup kitchens/Holiday support
Many of us have helped serve meals to the hungry on holidays. These efforts are generally organized through churches or food pantries. With the pandemic, there may be decreases in these programs, but it’s definitely worth asking what’s being done if you’d like to support local hunger by donating time to serving meals.
Facing the problem
Hunger is a prevailing problem in the United States and here at home in Wisconsin. Luckily, there are many amazing food pantries ready to take your donations! Together, we can make a huge difference in making sure everyone goes to bed nice and full each night!