Stock the Shelves
The Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Stock the Shelves campaign has raised $13,465 since it started. The six-week effort, which ends Nov. 25, has a $100,000 goal. Of the total raised to date, $4,225 has come from credit unions. To donate, visit greenbaypressgazette.com/stocktheshelves.
OCONTO FALLS — Joyce Greetan recently traded vitamin water and sausage for an equally odd mix of food items that included soup, pickles and jam.
Greetan, a volunteer at Kingdom Come food pantry, said it’s common to trade with other pantries when they have a food shortage or a surplus of perishable items they need to unload. In one of her latest deals, she was able to nab a supply of coffee creamers, which she said some clients mix with water for a milk substitute when they can’t afford the real thing.
“It’s really bad in the community. A lot of people don’t realize how bad it is,” Greetan said. “Everybody is one paycheck away from getting behind and struggling.”
Kingdom Come, at 520 Locust St., is one of 11 area food pantries or programs set to benefit from the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s annual Stock the Shelves fundraiser. The six-week campaign ends Nov. 25 and seeks to raise $100,000.
The Oconto Falls pantry is open Tuesdays and Fridays, serving about 200 families a week. Clients also can receive clothing and hygiene products at the pantry. Greetan recalled several heart-wrenching stories, such as a 14-year-old boy who wore his mother’s sandals to school because she couldn’t afford to buy him shoes, or homeless people sleeping at night inside their vehicles in forests or random parking lots.
Clients have many reasons for falling on hard times, Greetan said, including job loss, home foreclosure or illness.
Greetan said the pantry often is short on toilet paper and paper towels, and will trade with other pantries by giving them cheese spreads or bottled waters.
“We network with everybody,” she said. “That’s what you’ve got to do.”
Monica Clare, executive director of the St. Joseph Food Program in Menasha, said at times she trades food with Kingdom Come.
“If I get a huge donation of one particular thing, then I will call other pantries and see if they have a need for that,” she said. “We all try to work together in a way to benefit our clients.”
While some pantries regularly bargain with others to get clients basic food items, others aren’t always able to.
Sandi Soik is director of the Door County site of Lakeshore CAP, a Stock the Shelves beneficiary and program working to help people reach self-sufficiency. Soik said food at the site pantry is often distributed to clients in need, not leaving much left to trade with another pantry.
The Lakeshore CAP pantry at the site serves more than 300 households a month, and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays. Clients must live in Door County and meet income guidelines.
At the Kingdom Come food pantry, Greetan said, volunteers don’t check a person’s income and they “do as Jesus would.”
The pantry, founded in 2005, is overseen by a group of eight churches: Grace Lutheran Church, Riverview Alliance Church, St. Anthony Parish and The United Methodist Church, all of Oconto Falls; Green Bay Community Church, Howard; St. John’s Lutheran Church of Morgan; St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Sobieski; and St. Patrick Parish, Stiles.
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @pgcharlesdavis.