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More Square Footage: Marinette food pantry set to move to new location

Posted at 5:34 PM, Feb 28, 2024

MARINETTE — The St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Marinette is set to move to a new, bigger location.

  • The current St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Marinette is 200-sq.-ft.; the executive director said their new location will be more than 1,000-sq.-ft.
  • As another local pantry closed in 2022, the St. Vincent de Paul pantry set a new record in food distributed, then more than doubled that record figure the next year.
  • Watch the video to hear a personal story about how the new location will be easier for a Marinette woman to access.

(The following is a transcript of the broadcast story)

The St. Vincent de Paul food pantry here in Marinette is set to move to a new, bigger location.

And we’re hearing a personal story about how that could make a huge difference for a woman who makes her way here during the Wisconsin winter.

Three words [that did not come easy]:

“Now I’m home.”

Let’s back up, to where Peggy Marsh in Marinette told us a story.

"Got stuck in the snow trying to get here, I got stuck in about 3 inches of snow," [Marsh said.]

It was a trip in her wheelchair to the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Marinette.

"It was awful, it was cold like it is today," [Marsh said.]

Luckily help came, Executive Director Ashley Berken worked to get her out.

"You wouldn’t believe how thankful I was, it was like angels coming from heaven to help me," Marsh said.

Peggy says the food pantry’s new location will be easier to get to in the winter, taking streets instead of sidewalks.

And Ashley [the executive director] says the new location will be an upgrade in many ways, including space.

"[We] have about a 200-sq.-foot food pantry located inside our thrift store, this is going to be changing into about over 1,000-sq.-foot of a food pantry space," Berken said.

People will be able to park outside, and go in to pick out their food.

That’s compared to now.

With such little space, many people wait in line in their cars.

"Burning through gas and spending money they don’t have, waiting," Berken said.

She says their demand has exploded.

In 2022, another local pantry closed and this pantry set a new record in food given out.

But then in 2023, they more than doubled that record number.

"We knew that something had to change, so we couldn’t keep operating out of 200-sq.-ft., and we were very blessed in finding this location to be able to move our food pantry," Berken said.

Helping people like Peggy, who's staying positive.

But we came to hear her story about getting stuck, not to see it almost happen again...

[Video shows Peggy's wheelchair wheel spinning in the snow.]

She tried again, and made it.

And maybe next winter, a trip to get food won’t turn into such a journey because of a little snow.

Berken says their purchase of the new building closes on Friday.

They hope to move in there in May, and they’ve been saving for years, to try to make it happen.

The planned new location is at 2000 Cleveland Ave. in Marinette.