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Partnership between Dane County, Second Harvest to continue

food-bank-1

MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County and Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin are extending their Emergency Food Pandemic Response Program through July 2021.

The county will give Second Harvest $5 million over the next seven months.

"We are now going to be able to serve more people the way that we want to serve them," Kris Tazelaar, the director of marketing and communications for Second Harvest, said. "It makes all the difference in the world."

Tazelaar said the food bank is distributing 55 percent more food than it was before the pandemic.

"There's no way we could do that without the support that we've received from the Dane County Executive's Office," he said.

The program launched in April 2020, and Tazelaar said Second Harvest uses a portion of the money to buy directly from Dane County farmers.

"Recently, I've been reaching out and and talking with some of these farmers," he said. "What they're telling me is that, in some cases, this funding was the difference between them being able to make it and them not being able to make it or it was the difference between them being able to hire the two more people that they had hoped to hire when they originally planned for the year. It is really making a huge difference in what they do."

He said it's also benefitting those in need of food.

"The product that we're getting from [local farmers] is incredibly healthy. It's good for you," Tazelaar said. "It's one of those things where it is it's a blessing twice. It's a blessing that we're able to provide good healthy food to those that we serve but also help our local farmers and local growers at the same time."

Tazelaar said the money will only be used in Dane County, but the influx of new funding will free up different resources to be used in the other 15 counties Second Harvest serves.