How to assist, seek help from pantries

Demand is high at regional food pantries, but the public can reach out to help.

Sauk County Public Health is promoting these organizations in hopes that people will donate to them.

With the year ending, many groups are literally running on empty with both food and funds, said Melissa Brandt, emergency food coordinator for Sauk County with the Central Wisconsin Community Action Council.

“Much of the coronavirus-related grant funding that was provided to local food pantries and regional food banks earlier this year is now spent,” she said in a statement. “But local families’ need for emergency food has grown this fall. Many Sauk County pantries are feeding more families than usual.”

About a month into the pandemic, Sauk County Public Health and the Central Wisconsin Community Action Council started monthly meetings with food distribution for Sauk County residents. Sauk County Public Health’s Community Health Strategist Sara Jesse said food sites are doing a “wonderful job” not only dealing with these challenges but also the demands of COVID-19 restrictions.

“They offer ‘drive-through’ style services to minimize contact and use other safety precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing to keep everyone safe,” she said.

Brandt suggests donors provide financial assistance so sites can buy the food they need. For those who want to give goods, consider unexpired non-perishable food such as peanut butter or rice. Hygiene products like toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste are also beneficial.

Before donating, contact the site ahead of time to see if they are open or under certain restrictions donation drop-offs.

For more information, including how to seek aid, check out the following locations.

Baraboo Food Pantry, (608) 356-4649

Beyond Blessed, (608) 844-0052

Christ’s Cupboard (St. John Lutheran Church), (608) 524-4516

Community Food Pantry of Spring Green, (608) 459-5512

Reedsburg Food Pantry, (608)524-6272

Sauk Prairie Area Food Pantry, (608) 571-7737

Sacred Heart Mobile Food Pantry, (608) 963-7615

The Happy Kids Network and The Vine Street Market,

Wisconsin Dells Food Pantry, (608) 697-4612

Wonewoc Union Center Food Pantry, (608) 464-3998