Mobile Food Pantry Rolls Into Wausau to Help Those in Need

By: Madeline Anderson
By: Madeline Anderson

While many of us take for granted going out to eat or a trip to the grocery store, there are thousands struggling to put food on the table every day.

But one mobile food pantry has rolled into north central Wis. this week to help those in need. It's called the "Dinner is on Us" mobile food pantry. The BadgerCare HMO, United Healthcare, and the food bank, Feeding America, have partnered to bring food to people across the state. The plan: 11 stops in 10 days.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people lined up from all walks of life, both young and old at the Wausau site at the Bridge Community Clinic. But they had one thing in common: they're hungry.

"I was struggling finding food everywhere," said Brent Bowers, a Merrill resident. He's been looking for work and meals since last February.

"I finally found shelter at a farm and they let me work for room and board," Bowers said. Yet with no steady income, he still relies on food pantries to get by.

"We go to the Salvation Army quite a bit," he said.

The problem is, the need is greater than most places can handle.

"Some counties are having families limited to the amount of visits they can make in a year," said Renee Ladewyg-Lathrop with United Healthcare.

In Marathon Co. alone, more than 15,000 people don't get enough to eat. So that's where Ladewyg-Lathrop comes in.

"We're giving about 750 meal bags [at each site]," she said. "So that will, you know, it's a small dent, but hopefully it will make a big difference in those families' lives."

"It's definitely going to nourish us and keep us going," Bowers said. It's fuel for much more than just the body. A bag of fresh vegetables, chicken and pasta has given the 20-year-old a little relief in the midst of planning for the rest of his life.

"I want to get a job and get on my feet and provide for myself and hopefully start going to school," Bowers said.

Volunteers at the Wausau site say they ended up giving out about 675 of the 750 bags they had planned for. If you missed the truck, the mobile pantry will be out in Stevens Point Wednesday from 3:30-5:30 at the Goodwill in town, 5373 Highway 10 East Suite A.

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