By being able to provide food on the spot to someone in crisis, it may give people the strength to face the crisis in their life. It may be the thing that sees them through.

There is no time to waste

"Two young children came to the Child Advocacy Center due to allegations of abuse. Based on the information disclosed during the forensic interview, it was determined that these children would be going to stay with a different family member. With little warning, this family member had no time to prepare for the arrival of the two young children. Because of the food closet that was set up at the Child Advocacy Center, our staff was able to provide this family member with enough food for the next few days to give them time to adjust. We were thrilled to be able to help a family in need," shared Stacy Boos, a CAC intern at Chippewa Valley Child Advocacy Center.

A crisis comes in many forms. Since starting with a jail re-entry program in Eau Claire County, Feed My People (FMP) has developed crisis outreach programming with a variety of other organizations including the Chippewa Valley Child Advocacy. While providing food to low-income families has always been our mission, making sure our resources can also reach those in crisis has received increased focus.

Families and individuals who find themselves unexpectedly in a crisis are often those who have never used traditional hunger relief resources such as food pantries. Our goal in partnering with organizations in the community that work directly with people in these situations is to remove the barrier of hunger so other pressing challenges can be addressed.

When working with a potential new partner, we ask if they are offering information on food pantries, meal sites, and FoodShare. Then we ask, "If so, why would a program here be a benefit?" Over and over we hear that when someone is experiencing a crisis, hunger can be a part, homelessness can be a part, violence can be a part. By being able to provide food on the spot to someone in crisis, it may give people the strength to face the crisis in their life. It may be the thing that sees them through.

More stories from the field:

Lauren* is a single mother to two teenagers and a pre-teen. Recently, she was placed in the Eau Claire county jail. While she was away her mother thankfully took in the kids, but it drained all her financial resources as she struggled to care for the growing children on a very limited income. Lauren also lost her job during her stay in jail, and upon release at 5:00 a.m. on a cold morning, she was without a safety net. Her mom was at her limit. Lauren had no car and no job. With no way to even access a food pantry at that time of day on the other side of town, she turned to a start-up program recently launched at the Eau Claire County Jail for help. When Lauren received a 30-pound box of food through Feed My People's partnership with the jail's re-entry program, she said, "You have no idea how much this is going to help us. This is amazing."

A FoodShare participant came to the agency to request an emergency card because she had lost her first card and was in desperate need of food. Homeless and with transportation barriers, it was difficult for her to visit other food resources in the area. When a bag of food from Feed My People was provided on the spot, she started to eat the snacks and stated she hadn't eaten much in the last couple of days. She was very grateful as that immediate help is what she truly needed.
- Department of Health Services (DHS), EAU CLAIRE COUNTY

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