As the only food bank in west central Wisconsin, Feed My People distributes 125,000+ pounds of food a week and 7 million pounds a year to local agencies. We are a cost effective way to provide pantries, community tables, and shelters enough food so thousands of people can be helped each month.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Agency Spotlight: The Community Pantry & Clothing Closet
Feed My People Food Bank is proud to work with more than 100 hunger-relief agencies in west central Wisconsin to provide food and personal care products to our neighbors struggling with hunger. Though each agency is different, we all work together to better the people of our state. One such agency is the Community Pantry & Clothing Closet located in Chippewa Falls. We are happy to share their story of compassion and success with you. Thanks to Brooke and Matt Lukowitz for writing the article!
Click here to watch a YouTube video about the Community Pantry & Clothing Closet!
In the fall of 2007, our director, Brooke Lukowitz, decided to sponsor a coat drive for struggling families in Chippewa Falls. She had no idea how many people in need were out there or how many coats she could collect. But she knew that she wanted to give back.
It turned out that there were a whole lot of people in the area who could use a warm jacket. After collecting hundreds of coats over several weeks, all were given out in a matter of minutes.
That experience planted the seed for the Community Pantry & Clothing Closet. We believed that there were needs that were not being met in our community and wanted to be a part of the solution.
In March of 2009 we opened our doors with a mission and a passion to supply food, clothing, and hygiene products to those in need in our area - at no cost to them. Since that day, we have learned a lot more about the food insecurity right here in our own back yard. People are hurting and people are hungry.
So our mission became to provide weekly access to sustainable food for individuals and families in Chippewa Falls who are struggling financially. We are open each and every Saturday and by appointment. We work together to reduce hunger through a coalition of community cooperation, making the best possible use of all available resources. It is our goal to serve our clients in a way that preserves their dignity and to involve the community in a way that teaches empathy, encourages respect, and nurtures compassion.
To do that, we use a client-choice format where families can “shop” for groceries – no pre-packaged food. We are an all-volunteer organization with people doing everything from gathering and moving food, hanging and sorting clothing, to assisting clients. Volunteers also work in their houses of worship, schools, and places of work to organize food drives, raise funds and provide outreach to families in need.
We are currently serving close to 10,000 pounds of food to hundreds of people each month. From 2011 to 2012, our number of families served increased 100% and our pounds of food served increased 140%. And just in the last quarter here in 2013 we saw over 2,000 pounds of clothes get into hands that need them. And we feel that can do so much more.
Part of doing more is to get into first-floor space in downtown Chippewa Falls. Our current facility is not handicap accessible, which limits our ability to help those in need. We are hoping to do this by spring 2014. All help in this next phase would be greatly appreciated.
We are happy to be partners with Feed My People - ending hunger one bite at a time. Thank you to everyone who has made the Community Pantry and Clothing Closet what it is today. Your generosity is felt constantly by the families who are getting the food they need. Together, we can do more.