When the Press-Gazette Media team began discussing this year’s Stock the Shelves campaign, the annual drive to raise funds for local food pantries, the idea of setting a goal of $100,000 seemed like a crazy concept. A quick reality check showed the 2011 Stock the Shelves campaign raised $62,531.03 for local food pantries, so the 2012 would probably be in the neighborhood of $75,000. At least that made sense on paper.
As we discussed the goals with our partners at the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, what we kept coming back to is the increased need in our community. It’s no secret that thousands of children go to bed hungry in our community, and so many families are in dire straits when it comes to putting food on the table. While it would have been easier to set an achievable goal a few thousand dollars more than what was raised last year, we knew that a more aggressive goal would help us give a boost to food pantries that are serving more people than ever before.
While we fell a bit short of reaching the $100,000, we could not be more proud of Green Bay and the surrounding communities that make northeastern Wisconsin a special place to live. Thanks to our remarkable partners at the Greater Green Bay Foundation, the J.J. Keller Foundation and Express Convenience Centers and local credit unions across Brown County, and all the wonderful people and businesses who stepped forward to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate among us, we raised $96,437.84.
Those funds will be distributed to 11 local food pantries, and we know the money will make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of local people. Raising money is never easy, but when it comes to helping feed the hungry, it is clear Green Bay cares about taking care of its own. Our world is far from perfect, and it would be nice if hunger was not an issue in this area, but we can’t say enough about all those who opened their hearts and their wallets to put food on the table of people they have never met.
A month ago, as the fund drive was winding down, I wrote a column and asked people to take my “Thanksgiving Challenge” and spend a little less on a blowout holiday meal and donate the difference to Stock the Shelves. I received a lot of positive feedback from readers who accepted my challenge, and I was moved by the hundreds of people who stepped forward to contribute to the cause. I talked to one gentleman, who called just to say he was happy to help and was writing a second check after reading my column. He decided to donate a second time because he said he makes a nice living, but quickly added that his path in life has had its share of potholes and pitfalls. It was something that stuck with me. We all struggle to get by at some point during our lives, and those who bend down to help us when we fall become our heroes.
I would like to thank all those who helped make this year’s Stock the Shelves drive an enormous success. Titletown’s heroes don’t all play football.
Mike Knuth is executive editor of Press-Gazette Media.