Rural food pantries work to keep the community fed

Rural food pantries work to keep the community fed
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 5:16 PM CDT
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ASHLAND, WI. (KBJR) - A food pantry in Ashland is working around the clock to keep the community fed.

The BRICK Ministries Food Pantry has served Ashland and surrounding communities since 2007.

Brenda Nabozny used to volunteer at the pantry, but since leaving, she’s needed to now get food from it.

“We have to make ends meet whenever you can so...coming here gets us through the month,” Nabozny said.

She volunteered for the pantry for about five years before her husband suffered from a stroke.

Since then, she’s had to drive him to Hayward and Duluth for appointments.

“Taking my husband back to the hospital for rehab and everything,” she said.

The food she’s received from the pantry has helped her family

“It means a lot to people that they’re here for them,” Nabozny said, “that they’re here for people and the director is really nice and they see the need.”

Liz Seefeldt is the Executive Director of the BRICK Ministries.

Recently, more people have been coming to the pantry due to the changing economy.

“Consumers have less of that cushion from the federal government to fall back on,” she said, “and inflation is really a big factor.”

Seefeldt says the pantry gets a lot of its food through donations but a federal program called the Emergency Food Assistance Program is a major player.

In the past, the pantry got more food from the program because farmers couldn’t sell their goods due to ongoing trade wars.

After a new presidential administration took over, things changed.

“It’s really it’s probably going to mean that we’ll end up spending more of our budget on purchased food rather than food that’s donated through,” Seefeldt said.

Although other food pantries are struggling to get food on their shelves, The Brick is having trouble finding volunteers to work.

Volunteers at the food pantry are working harder than before.

They have to be more versatile,” she said, “they’re not only checking in people, but they’re also filling food boxes.”

While the pantry may see some signs of strain, they are open to serving the community.

“At least it’s here for us to help because a lot of people I think would do without or not eat at all,” Nabozny said.

The BRICK Ministries has four locations across Northern Wisconsin.

If you need food assistance or help, you can visit one of their locations or call the food pantry at (715)-682-7425.

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