MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — The '10 Most Wanted Food Drive' just kicked off. It's a four month long effort by the Manitowoc Police Department to take a bite out of hunger.
For many struggling families in Manitowoc County, Peter's Pantry serves as their safety net.
"It means a lot, like it helps out when we're low on funds," said a mother of four.
30 to 40 families a day come through the pantry in order to put food on their table.
"We look at the need and if there's a need, we provide them for that. There's no questions about it," said Pantry Manager Woody Shulander.
After the holidays, Shulander said donations go down.
"We've reached a point where we're struggling around or we have to limit certain items, because we're running low. We can't offer quite as much at a period of time."
Jeri Lynn Christensen, the office manager at the Manitowoc Police Department, has seen the need first-hand.
"We have people coming to our front counter that need help that are homeless, that are looking for a night to stay or food, so we have to give them resources to get those needs that they need."
Christensen reached out to Shulander a few years ago with an idea to fill the gap. She created the "10 Most Wanted Food Drive." She and the police department's support staff run it each year.
"We take any type of donation, but the themes really put a little different flair on it," she explained.
There's a different theme every month. January is "Souper" Bowl where soup donations are collected. February is "Can"ned Mania where they're collecting canned fruits and vegetables. March is Oodles of Noodles. April is Breakfast Bonanza.
Donors are encouraged to drop ten food items each month into bins that have been set out at five different collection sites in the city.
"It feels really good to give back to the community, because you see those people struggle and you can make a difference in their lives. Maybe that will give them the start to have a different outlook on life and have positive reinforcement," said Christensen.
The goal is to collect 5,000 pounds of food to keep the shelves stocked at Peter's Pantry.
"Greatly appreciate in how they come together and donate," said a food recipient.
"We'll continue to help the community as long as we're around," added Shulander.
The "10 Most Wanted Food Drive" runs through April 30th. You can follow the progress of the event on the Manitowoc Police Department's Facebook page.
Here are the collection sites for food donations:
- Manitowoc Police Department, 910 Jay Street
- Manitowoc Public Library, 707 Quay Street
- Manitowoc Senior Center, 3330 Custer St.
- Pick N Save, 3300 Calumet Ave.
- Rob’s Family Market, 2330 Menasha Ave.
Organizers provided this list of donation suggestions.
- January: "Souper" Bowl - soup, dry beans or crackers
- February: "Can"ned Mania - any type of canned fruit or vegetable
- March: Oodles of Noodles - any type of noodle, macaroni and cheese, canned mushrooms/tomatoes, Rice a Roni, ramen noodles, spaghetti, cheese sauces, canned meats/tuna or rice
- April: Breakfast Bonanza - coffee, tea, peanut butter, muffin mix, boxed cereal, oatmeal, oats, honey, juice, jam or jelly, granola bars, pie filling, flour, sugar, pancake or waffle mix