Food pantry demand increasing - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Food pantry demand increasing

MIDDLETON (WKOW) -- At food pantries across Dane County, demand is up an average of 20%.

The Middleton Outreach Ministry food pantry serves more than 20 families a day, who take home about 1,000 pounds of food.

"We're seeing a lot of new families coming in -- people who it's their first time asking for help," said coordinator Kim Grafenauer. "We're also seeing a lot of families we haven't seen in months."

Donations are keeping up with demand for now, but pantries are already trying to stock up for next year.

"We're a little concerned after the holidays end and people forget about the need that exists year round," Grafenauer said.

And there's plenty of room -- huge empty freezers for meats and dairy, hangers for winter coats and sweaters, and a table for holiday decorations. There's great demand for laundry detergent, and meals in a box.

"We really rely most heavily on people bringing in food that they've collected from their neighborhood or people doing food drives at their church, at their school, businesses," said Grafenauer.

And those resources run out fast. A wall of blankets will likely be gone by this weekend. Pantry workers say, those in need are also hungry for warmth.

The Middleton Outreach Ministry food pantry is also coordinating a "Sharing Christmas" present drive -- where any family can adopt a local family in need, and purchase gifts for them this year.


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