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The demand for food assistance grows across Wisconsin

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Posted at 5:35 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 18:35:54-04

APPLETON, Wis (NBC 26) -- In April Wisconsin's unemployment rate jumped to 14 percent. And as more and more people across the state find themselves out of work, food banks and food pantries are being overwhelmed with clients that could use some relief.

Many are unaware that the Fox Cities are home to the largest hunger-relief network in all of Wisconsin. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is a major player in helping to fill the growing need across northeast Wisconsin

"We just fill in those gaps that those pantries see in their local communities," says Liz Wolenberg the donor relations manager at Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

Wolenberg says right now her distribution site is firing on all cylinders because so many across our region are out of work and low on food.

"What we've seen as an organization is a 67 percent increase in distribution. So we're talking new people entering the pantry system."

The majority of the food at her warehouse lining the oversized shelves will be shipped to local pantries. But as of Thursday, Feeding America will also be showing up to communities across northeast Wisconsin five days a week through the month of June, with a fully loaded mobile pantry that will make food available to anyone who shows up.

"So if you see a distribution locally you can get in your car, drive through and pick up a box that will feed a family of four for a week," says Wolenberg.

Volunteers are already trying to fill the anticipated need as more and more people rely on resources from Feeding America. But the need for more volunteers, during this age of social distancing, is actually not what the organization needs right now.

"The biggest thing you can do to help our organization right now, and to help those local pantries, is donate funds."

Monetary donations are what makes this giving machine continue to run according to Wolenberg. That's because, for every dollar donated to Feeding America, they can stretch that bill into four meals for someone you might know who could really use it right now.

To find out how you can help Feeding America provide more meals across northeast Wisconsin they encourage you to check out their website or give them a call.

Feeding America's mobile food pantry will be in Oshkosh, Green Bay, Appleton and Shawano throughout the months of May and June. For their pick up times and locations for family meals, no questions asked, check out this link.